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Luigi Avantaggiato
Luigi Avantaggiato
Luigi Avantaggiato

Luigi Avantaggiato

Country: Italy
Birth: 1984

Born in Zurich in 1984, Luigi Avantaggiato is a Rome based freelance photographer specialized in documentary, editorial, and cross-media project. He started working as a documentary photographer after his doctoral studies in Visual Studies, which helped him to develop a profound interest in global social and environmental issues. Because of his work he has visited several countries in the world in state of emergency: Lebanon, Iraq, Colombia, Greece, Kosovo. His images have been published in several newspapers and magazines, such as Il Corriere della Sera, D di Repubblica, Panorama, VICE, Lensculture and others. His works took part in several international exhibitions, such as Photomed Festival (Sanary-sur-Mer, 2017), FotoGrafia – International Festival of Photography of Rome XI ed. (Rome, 2012), Fotografia Europea (Reggio Emilia, 2014), Juraplaz (Bienne, 2014) Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana (Firenze, 2015) and others. He teaches at Sapienza – University of Rome and in several private academies. He is author of book essays and papers about photography, cinema and visual arts.

About Dove tramonta l’Occidente (Where the West Sets)

In the past few years, international governments, institutions, and media have used the expression “refugee crisis” to describe rising numbers of undocumented individuals and families fleeing to Europe from countries such as Syria, Afghanistan, and Iraq, where they face harsh challenges, including war, poverty, persecution, and human rights violations. Hoping to start a new life in Europe and looking for a new identity, thousands of refugees have braved the Mediterranean Sea on board of inflatable boats and makeshift vessels, driven by an idea of Europe as the land where their dreams will be realized. Some of these people decide to cross the sea illegally only to become refugees and to enjoy the benefits of this status.

Where the West Sets is a documentary project that attempts to chronicle this crisis as it plays out on the northern Aegean Islands and in mainland Greece – the same territories where Western Culture and its system of values were born. The aesthetics of my work lies on an approach that had me go to those places not as a reporter looking for facts but as a documentarist trying to verify facts.

The series of photographs reflects the consequences that the refugee crisis is having on the cradle of civilization, whereas the traditional value of respecting other human beings is meeting feelings of hostility, fear, and xenophobia among the Greeks.

In the same country that gave birth to philosophy, science and anthropology, people are living among refugees in an uncertain and disordered way, holding tightly to their self- referential and contradictory values, belonging to a Europe that is now diminished but that is frantically trying to redefine its own identity.
 

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James Houston
Australia
James Houston's background as a sculptor helped shape and influence his graphic photographic style. Australian born, Houston celebrates beauty and the human form, creating sensual iconic portraits and international campaigns for L'Oreal Paris, GAP, Donna Karan, Hugo Boss and Givenchy. New York based Houston balances his career with passion projects that make a difference in the community. Five award winning international books have been published on his work. Houston's book MOVE (PowerHouse Books), was created to benefit various HIV/AIDS charities and raised close to US$500,000 from sales and launch events. The book project, titled MOVE FOR AIDS was launched in 2006 with the support of Elton John, Hugh Jackman, Baz Luhrmann and Sarah Murdoch. While working on MOVE FOR AIDS, Houston was shocked to learn about American attitudes towards adolescent sexuality and the impact it has on U.S. teens. This discovery inspired Houston to raise over 1 million dollars to fund his first feature documentary titled, LET’S TALK ABOUT SEX (www.letstalkaboutsexthefilm.com). The Award winning film takes a revealing look at how American attitudes towards adolescent sexuality affect today’s teenagers. The film aired nationally on the TLC network in April, 2011 with the goal of helping parents and communities understand the importance of honest and open communication. For his latest photographic project, Natural Beauty, Houston turns his eye to nature for inspiration with the goal to raise awareness for the environment and funds for environmental non profit Global Green USA. In collaboration with MILK, Houston shot a series of striking portraits of some of the world’s leading models and celebrities. These captivating photographs, bring together two of Houston’s great passions – the human form and the natural world. Natural Beauty launched at MILK Gallery NYC April 2013. Houston also directed a web series on the 'making of' Natural Beauty as well as several film installations for the exhibition. Source: www.houstonphoto.com
Anne Helene Gjelstad
Anne Helene Gjelstad is an award-winning photographer and educator. After graduation from the Norwegian National Academy of Craft and Art Industry in 1982 she had her own fashion studio in Oslo for 25 years. Among her clients were HM Queen Sonja, Norwegian artists, magazines and the textile industry. In 2006 she felt the need for a change and decided to follow her childhood dream and become a photographer. She took the two-year class in photography at Bilder Nordic School of Photography (2007-08) as well a numerous workshops by some of the leading photographers of our time such as Joyce Tenneson, Mary Ellen Mark, Greg Gorman and Vee Speers. Anne Helene's works has been has been exhibited worldwide; in the National Art Museum of China in Beijing, in Centro Fotografico Alvarez Bravo in Mexico, in Ljubljana in Slovenia, around Estonia including the Lobby in the Estonian Parliament in Tallinn and in the National Museum in Tartu as well as in The House of Photography in Oslo. Anne Helene Gjelstad has her photo studio in an old barn surrounded by beautiful landscape just outside of Oslo. She also gives lectures and teaches portrait photography and postproduction. For her portraits, she is rewarded numerous awards. Statement For eleven years, since 2008, I have worked on portraying the lives of the older women on the small Estonian islands of Kihnu and Manija in the Baltic Sea. Colourful, interesting and friendly, they represent a culture and a way of life that is changing despite the strong anchor of tradition. These robust women are used to working hard, and take care of almost everything. They bring up the children, make the clothes, plough the fields, drive the tractors and take care of the animals. The men spend much time away from home, fishing or working on the mainland or abroad. Life is often hard. This is normal here. Nobody asks questions. You do what you must. This is how you get a big heart and strong hands. The voices of these hushed culture bearers need to be heard and kept for generations to come in a small society that is rapidly changing towards western standards, and where the traditional culture and identity is naturally slipping away. I have aimed to tell the women's stories truthfully and I have photographed their daily lives and activities, clothing and bedrooms, kitchens and farmhouses, the details, the surroundings and landscapes as well as the ceremony held in a deceased person's kitchen only three hours after she had passed away. To tell the fuller story, I have also interviewed some of the women about their lives, their experiences during war and occupation, family life, work, food and thoughts about the future. My book is my contribution to record and help preserve this unique culture for the future and give these old, wise women the voice they deserve as the quiet nation builders they really are.
James Van Der Zee
United States
1886 | † 1983
James Van Der Zee was an American photographer best known for his portraits of black New Yorkers. He was a leading figure in the Harlem Renaissance. Aside from the artistic merits of his work, Van Der Zee produced the most comprehensive documentation of the period. Among his most famous subjects during this time were Marcus Garvey, Bill "Bojangles" Robinson and Countee Cullen. Born in Lenox, Massachusetts, Van Der Zee demonstrated an early gift for music and was initially aspired to a career as a professional violinist. Van Der Zee's second interest was in photography. He bought his first camera when he was a teenager, and improvised a darkroom in his parents' home. He took hundreds of photographs of his family as well as his hometown of Lenox. Van Der Zee was one of the first people to provide early documentation of his community life in small-town New England. In 1906, he moved with his father and brother to Harlem in New York City, where he worked as a waiter and elevator operator. By now Van Der Zee was a skilled pianist and aspiring professional violinist. He would become the primary creator and one of the five performers in a group known as the Harlem Orchestra. In March 1907, Van Der Zee married Kate L. Brown and they moved back to Lenox to have their daughter, Rachel, born in September. Soon after, they moved to Phoebus, Virginia. In 1908, their son, Emile, was born but died within a year from pneumonia. In 1915, he moved to Newark, New Jersey, where he took a job in a portrait studio, first as a darkroom assistant and then as a portraitist. That same year, he converted to Catholicism and began taking assignments from the Church. He returned to Harlem the following year, just as large numbers of Black immigrants and migrants were arriving in that part of the city. He set up a studio at the Toussaint Conservatory of Art and Music with his sister, Jennie Louise Van de Zee, also known as Madame E Toussaint, who had founded the conservatory in 1911. In 1916, Van Der Zee and Gaynella Greenlee launched the Guarantee Photo Studio on West 125th Street in Harlem. They married in 1918. His business boomed during World War I, and the portraits he shot from this period until 1945 have demanded the majority of critical attention. In 1919, he photographed the victory parade of the returning 369th Infantry Regiment, a predominantly African American unit sometimes called the "Harlem Hellfighters." During the 1920s and 1930s, he produced hundreds of photographs recording Harlem's growing middle class. Its residents entrusted the visual documentation of their weddings, funerals, celebrities and sports stars, and social life to his carefully composed images. Quickly Van Der Zee became the most successful photographer in Harlem. Among his many renowned subjects were poet Countee Cullen, dancer Bill ("Bojangles") Robinson, Charles M. "Daddy" Grace, Joe Louis, Florence Mills, and black nationalist leader Marcus Garvey. By the early 1930s, Van Der Zee found it harder to make an income from his work in photography, partly because of the strained economic circumstances of many of his customers and partly because the growing popularity of personal cameras reduced the need for professional photography. Van Der Zee worked predominantly in the studio and used a variety of props, including architectural elements, backdrops, and costumes, to achieve stylized tableaux vivant in keeping with late Victorian and Edwardian visual traditions. Sitters often copied celebrities of the 1920s and 1930s in their poses and expressions, and he retouched negatives and prints heavily to achieve an aura of glamour. He also created funeral photographs between the wars. These works were later collected in The Harlem Book of the Dead (1978), with a foreword by Toni Morrison. In 1982, at age 96, Van Der Zee photographed 21-year-old painter Jean-Michel Basquiat for the January 1983 issue of Interview magazine. Van Der Zee died in Washington, D.C. on May 15, 1983. Ten years later the National Portrait Gallery exhibited his work as a posthumous tribute. In 1984 Van Der Zee was inducted into the International Photography Hall of Fame and Museum. It’s a hard job to get the camera to see it like you see it. Sometimes you have it just the way you want it, and then you look in the camera and you don’t have the balance. The main thing is to get the camera to see it the way you see it. -- James Van Der Zee Works by Van Der Zee are artistic as well as technically proficient. His work was in high demand, in part due to his experimentation and skill in double exposures and in retouching negatives of children. One theme that recurs in his photographs was the emergent black middle class, which he captured using traditional techniques in often idealistic images. Negatives were retouched to show glamor and an aura of perfection. This affected the likeness of the person photographed, but he felt each photo should transcend the subject. His carefully posed family portraits reveal that the family unit was an important aspect of Van Der Zee's life. "I tried to see that every picture was better-looking than the person ... I had one woman come to me and say 'Mr. VanDerZee my friends tell that's a nice picture, but it doesn't look like you.' That was my style", said VanDerZee. Van Der Zee sometimes combined several photos in one image, for example by adding a ghostly child to an image of a wedding to suggest the couple's future, or by superimposing a funeral image upon a photograph of a dead woman to give the feeling of her eerie presence. Van Der Zee said, "I wanted to make the camera take what I thought should be there." Van Der Zee was a working photographer who supported himself through portraiture, and he devoted time to his professional work before his more artistic compositions. Many famous residents of Harlem were among his subjects. In addition to portraits, Van Der Zee photographed organizations, events, and other businesses.Source: Wikipedia
Helmut Newton
Germany/Australia
1920 | † 2004
Helmut Newton was a German-Australian photographer. The New York Times described him as a "prolific, widely imitated fashion photographer whose provocative, erotically charged black-and-white photos were a mainstay of Vogue and other publications." Newton was born in Berlin, the son of Klara "Claire" (née Marquis) and Max Neustädter, a button factory owner. Newton attended the Heinrich-von-Treitschke-Realgymnasium and the American School in Berlin. Interested in photography from the age of 12 when he purchased his first camera, he worked for the German photographer Yva (Elsie Neuländer Simon) from 1936. Any photographer who says he’s not a voyeur is either stupid or a liar. -- Helmut Newton The increasingly oppressive restrictions placed on Jews by the Nuremberg laws meant that his father lost control of the factory in which he manufactured buttons and buckles; he was briefly interned in a concentration camp on Kristallnacht, 9 November 1938, which finally compelled the family to leave Germany. Newton's parents fled to Argentina. He was issued with a passport just after turning 18 and left Germany on 5 December 1938. At Trieste, he boarded the Conte Rosso (along with about 200 others escaping the Nazis), intending to journey to China. After arriving in Singapore, he found he was able to remain there, first briefly as a photographer for the Straits Times and then as a portrait photographer. Newton was interned by British authorities while in Singapore and was sent to Australia on board the Queen Mary, arriving in Sydney on 27 September 1940. Internees travelled to the camp at Tatura, Victoria by train under armed guard. He was released from internment in 1942 and briefly worked as a fruit picker in Northern Victoria. In August 1942, he enlisted with the Australian Army and worked as a truck driver. After the war in 1945, he became a British subject and changed his name to Newton in 1946. In 1948, he married actress June Browne, who performed under the stage name June Brunell. Later she became a successful photographer under the ironic pseudonym Alice Springs (after Alice Springs, the town in Central Australia). In 1946, Newton set up a studio in fashionable Flinders Lane in Melbourne and worked on fashion, theatre and industrial photography in the affluent postwar years. He shared his first joint exhibition in May 1953 with Wolfgang Sievers, a German refugee like himself, who had also served in the same company. The exhibition of New Visions in Photography' was displayed at the Federal Hotel in Collins Street and was probably the first glimpse of New Objectivity photography in Australia. Newton went into partnership with Henry Talbot, a fellow German Jew who had also been interned at Tatura, and his association with the studio continued even after 1957, when he left Australia for London. The studio was renamed Helmut Newton and Henry Talbot. Newton's growing reputation as a fashion photographer was rewarded when he secured a commission to illustrate fashions in a special Australian supplement for Vogue magazine, published in January 1956. He won a 12-month contract with British Vogue and left for London in February 1957, leaving Talbot to manage the business. Newton left the magazine before the end of his contract and went to Paris, where he worked for French and German magazines. He returned to Melbourne in March 1959 to a contract for Australian Vogue. Newton and his wife finally settled in Paris in 1961 and work continued as a fashion photographer. His images appeared in magazines including the French edition of Vogue and Harper's Bazaar. He established a particular style marked by erotic, stylized scenes, often with sadomasochistic and fetishistic subtexts. A heart attack in 1970 reduced Newton's output, nevertheless his wife's encouragement led to his profile continuing to expand, especially with a big success, the 1980 studio-bound stark infinity of the Big Nudes series. His Naked and Dressed portfolio followed and in 1992 Domestic Nudes which marked the pinnacle of his erotic-urban style, these series all underpinned with the prowess of his technical skills. Newton also worked in portraiture and more fantastical studies. Newton shot a number of pictorials for Playboy, including pictorials of Nastassja Kinski and Kristine DeBell. Original prints of the photographs from his August 1976 pictorial of DeBell, "200 Motels, or How I Spent My Summer Vacation" were sold at auctions of Playboy archives by Bonhams in 2002. I just had a bellyful and realized I had shot enough nudes to last a lifetime. In fact, although I have no idea of the number, I think I photographed too many naked women. -- Helmut Newton In 2009, June Browne Newton conceptualized a tribute exhibition to Newton, based on three photographers that befriended Newton in Los Angeles in 1980: Mark Arbeit, Just Loomis, and George Holz. All three had been photography students at The Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California. All three became friends with Helmut and June Newton and to varying degrees assisted Helmut Newton. Each went on to independent careers. The exhibit premiered at the Helmut Newton Foundation in Berlin and combined the work of all three with personal snapshots, contact sheets, and letters from their time with Newton. Since the 1970s Newton regularly used Polaroid cameras and film for instant visualization of compositions and lighting situations, especially for his fashion photography. By his own admission, for the shoot of Naked and Dressed series that started in 1981 for the Italian and French Vogue he used Polaroid film “by the crate”. These polaroids also served as a sketchbook, where he scribbled notes with regard to the model, client or location and date. In 1992 Newton published Pola Woman, a book consisting only of his Polaroids. Over 300 works based on the original Polaroids were shown at 2011 exhibition Helmut Newton Polaroids at the Museum für Fotografie in Berlin. In his later life, Newton lived in both Monte Carlo and Los Angeles, California where he spent winters at the Chateau Marmont, which he had done every year since 1957. On 23 January 2004, he suffered a serious heart attack while driving his automobile down Marmont Lane from the Chateau Marmont to Sunset Boulevard. He was taken to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center; doctors were unable to save him, and he was pronounced dead. His ashes are buried at the Städtischer Friedhof III in Berlin.Source: Wikipedia
Francesca Woodman
United States
1958 | † 1981
Francesca Woodman was an American photographer best known for her black and white pictures featuring herself and female models. Many of her photographs show young women who are nude, blurred (due to movement and long exposure times), merging with their surroundings, or whose faces are obscured. Woodman attended public school in Boulder, Colorado, between 1963 and 1971 except for second grade, which she attended in Italy. She began high school in 1972 at the private Massachusetts boarding school Abbot Academy, where she began to develop her photographic skills and became interested in the art form. Abbot Academy merged with Phillips Academy in 1973; Woodman graduated from the public Boulder High School in 1975. Through 1975, she spent summers with her family in Italy. She spent her time in Italy in the Florentine countryside, where she lived on an old farm with her parents. Beginning in 1975, Woodman attended the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) in Providence, Rhode Island. She studied in Rome between 1977 and 1978 in a RISD honors program. As she spoke fluent Italian, she was able to befriend Italian intellectuals and artists. She went back to Rhode Island in late 1978 to graduate from RISD. Woodman moved to New York City in 1979. After spending the summer of 1979 in Stanwood, Seattle whilst visiting her boyfriend at Pilchuck Glass School, she returned to New York "to make a career in photography." She sent portfolios of her work to fashion photographers, but "her solicitations did not lead anywhere. In the summer of 1980 she was an artist-in-residence at the MacDowell Colony in Peterborough, New Hampshire. In late 1980 Woodman became depressed due to the failure of her work to attract attention and to a broken relationship. She survived a suicide attempt, after which she lived with her parents in Manhattan. On January 19, 1981, she committed suicide by jumping out a loft window in New York. An acquaintance wrote, "things had been bad, there had been therapy, things had gotten better, guard had been let down." Her father has suggested that Woodman's suicide was related to an unsuccessful application for funding from the National Endowment for the Arts.Source: Wikipedia Francesca Woodman photographed herself, often nude, in empty interiors. But her pictures are not traditional self-portraits. She is usually half-hidden by objects or furniture or appears as a blur. The images convey an underlying sense of human fragility. This fragility is exaggerated by the fact that the photographs are printed on a very small scale – they seem personal and intimate. Most of the photographs in the ARTIST ROOMS collection come from Francesca’s former boyfriend Benjamin P. Moore. She gave him the photographs, and many of them include intimate messages written in their margins. The messages become part of the artwork. Woodman continuously explored and tested what she could do with photography. She challenged the idea that the camera fixes time and space – something that had always been seen as one of the fundamentals of photography. She playfully manipulated light, movement and photographic effects, and used carefully selected props, vintage clothing and decaying interiors to add a mysterious gothic atmosphere to the work. Her importance as an innovator is significant, particularly in the context of the 1970s when the status of photography was still regarded as less important than painting and sculpture. She led the way for later American artists who used photography to explore themes relating to identity such as Cindy Sherman and Nan Goldin. Francesca Woodman’s entire body of work was produced as a young person and created over just eight short years. Her photographs explore many themes that affect young people such as relationships, sexuality, questions of self, body image, alienation, isolation and confusion or ambiguity about personal identity.Source: Tate
Chuck Fishman
United States
1953
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