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Bence Mate
Bence Mate
Bence Mate

Bence Mate

Country: Hungary
Birth: 1985

A wildlife photographer, born in Hungary, 1985. In 2010 he won the prestigious BBC Wildlife Photography of the Year award in London. He is the most effective photographer in the 53-year-old history of the competition, being the only contestant winning the first prize in both the young and adult categories.

In 2005 he experimented the one-way glass photography technique, making fundamental changes in hide photography practice. This technique has been widely used all over the world, and most hides are equipped with such glasses.

Since 2008 he has been designing wildlife photography hides in different parts of the world (Hungary, Costa Rica, Brazil, Norway, South-Africa and Transylvania, Romania). His enterprise operating in Hungary welcomes photographers with the most exclusive hides in the world.

Books: The Invisible Wildlife Photographer (English, Hungarian), The Handbook of Bird Photography (Markus Varesvuo, Jari Peltomäki, Bence Máté; English, German, Finnish, French).

Statement
"A great wildlife photo is technically perfect, innovative, and unrepeatable. It is a genuine reflection of what took place, and the subjects must be able to move around as they wish. Whilst Photoshop can be used to enhance an image, the sole goal of post-production should be to reflect reality in the most accurate way possible." -- Bence Mate
 

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Claudio Allia
Italy
1962
Claudio Allia (1962), is an Ophthalmologist, jazz and classical music producer, and an amateur awards-winning photographer living in Sicily. Music and photography have always been his main passions that he has cultivated all his life since childhood. Fascinated by fine art and conceptual photography, at early 90's Claudio began to devote himself to the creation of photographic projects and series trying to transfigure and filter most disparate social themes, even the most crude and brutal, through his personal sensitivity and imagination. Since 2005, started to experiment with new visual and creative approaches into his photographic world, exploring and developing as well his knowledges in the digital editing field and spacing his body of work from fine art to surrealistic or conceptual photo collections/series up to pure social/documentary photography. Slum Glam series Despite the harsh living conditions I have recognised the high level of dignity shown by the Mathare residents and my Slum Glam series attempted to depict this. A hand painted, makeshift wooden chair rests in front of a multi coloured shack wall that the women have decorated using brightly coloured designs wearing their best clothes to pose for my camera. Flower Pots series (Mathare Valley Slum - Nairobi) "Now we go into the vulnerable realm of an impossible privacy, constantly threatened and modified by all that's happening outside; rooms as decorated trenches of a never-ending battle; 9 square meters where to try a claustrophobic but worthy independence, where to keep dignity at low cost. Now focus in the flowerpots; the picture is a transparent flowerpot allowing you to check every corner of these rooms... look again: the dwellers are the flowers." --Claudio Torres Remote Control series (Mathare Valley Slum – Nairobi) For the Remote Control series some of the children of Mathare joined me on a photo shoot, turning up well dressed and carrying a favourite, or only toy. As they walked through the area of corregated dwellings I handed them a remote control i had brought withme in preparation and they instinctively grasped the significance and started pointing it towards areas that they wished to see change to improve their existence.
Shomei Tomatsu
Japan
1930 | † 2012
Shomei Tomatsu (東松 照明, Tōmatsu Shōmei) was a Japanese photographer, primarily known for his images that depict the impact of World War II on Japan and the subsequent occupation of U.S. forces. As one of the leading postwar photographers, Tomatsu is attributed with influencing the younger generations of photographers including those associated with the magazine Provoke (Takuma Nakahira and Daido Moriyama). Tomatsu was born in Nagoya in 1930. As an adolescent during World War II, he was mobilized to support Japan's war effort. Like many Japanese students his age, he was sent to work at a steel factory and underwent incessant conditioning intended to instill fear and hatred towards the British and Americans. Once the war ended and Allied troops took over numerous Japanese cities, Tomatsu interacted with Americans firsthand and found that his preconceptions of them were not entirely salient. At the time Tomatsu's contempt for the violence and crimes committed by these soldiers was complicated by individual acts of kindness he received from them – he simultaneously loved and hated their presence. These interactions, which he later described as among the most formative memories of his childhood, initiated his long-standing fixation on and feelings of ambivalence towards the subject of American soldiers. If I had seven lives, I’d be a photographer in every one. -- Shomei Tomatsu Tomatsu embraced photography while an economics student at Aichi University. While still in university, his photographs were shown frequently in monthly amateur competitions by Camera magazine and received recognition from Ihei Kimura and Ken Domon. After graduating in 1954, he joined Iwanami Shashin Bunko, through an introduction made by Aichi University professor Mataroku Kumaza. Tomatsu contributed photographs to the issues Floods and the Japanese (1954) and Pottery Town, Seto Aichi (1954). He stayed at Iwanami for two years before leaving to pursue freelance work. In 1957, Tomatsu participated in the exhibition Eyes of Ten where he displayed his series Barde Children’s School; he was featured in the exhibit twice more when it was held again in 1958 and 1959. After his third showing, Tomatsu established the short-lived photography collective VIVO with fellow Eyes of Ten exhibitors; these other members included Eikoh Hosoe, Kikuji Kawada, Ikkō Narahara, Akira Satō, and Akira Tanno. Towards the end of the 1950s, Tomatsu began photographing Japanese towns with major American bases, a project that would span over 10 years. Tomatsu's artistic output and renown grew significantly during the 1960s, exemplified by his prolific engagements with many prominent Japanese photography magazines. He began the decade by publishing his images of U.S. bases in the magazines Asahi Camera and Camera Mainichi and his series Home in Photo Art. In contrast to his earlier style which resembled traditional photojournalism, Tomatsu was beginning to develop a highly expressionistic form of image-taking that emphasized the photographer's own subjectivity. In response to this emergence, a dispute arose when Iwanami Shashin Bunko founder Yonosuke Natori wrote that Tomatsu had betrayed his foundations as a photojournalist by neglecting the responsibility to present reality in a truthful and legible manner. He rejected the claim that he was ever a photojournalist, and admonished journalistic thinking as an impediment to photography. Both essays were published in Asahi Camera. In addition to Asahi Camera and Photo Art, Tomatsu worked for magazines Gendai no me and Camera Mainichi. For Gendai no me, he edited a monthly series titled I am King (1964); for Camera Mainichi, he printed multiple collaborations made with Yasuhiro Ishimoto and Shigeichi Nagano in 1965 and his own series, The Sea Around Us in 1966. Tomatsu first went to Okinawa to photograph the American bases under the auspices of Asahi Camera in 1969. The images he captured formed the book Okinawa, Okinawa Okinawa which served as an explicit critique of the American air force. On the cover, an anti-base slogan verbalizing his disdain with the overwhelming U.S. presence in Okinawa reads: "The bases are not in Okinawa; Okinawa is in the bases". This sentiment was foreshadowed in Tomatsu's earlier writings, like his 1964 essay for Camera Manichi in which he stated "it would not be strange to call [Japan] the State of Japan in the United States of America. That's how far America has penetrated inside Japan, how deeply it has plumbed our daily lives." Tomatsu visited Okinawa three more times before finally moving to Naha in 1972. While in Okinawa, he traveled to various remote islands including Iriomote and Hateruma; he spent seven months on Miyakojima where he organized a study group called “Miyako University” aimed at mentoring young Miyako residents. Combined with his images taken in Southeast Asia, Tomatsu's photographs of Okinawa from the 1970s were shown in his prizewinning Pencil of the Sun (1975). Although he had come to Okinawa in order to witness its return to Japanese territory, Pencil of the Sun revealed a considerable shift away from the subject of military bases that he pursued throughout 1960s. He credited a diminishing interest in the American armed forces, in addition to the allure of Okinawa's brilliantly colored landscapes, for his adoption of color photography. In 1974, Tomatsu returned to Tokyo where he set up Workshop Photo School, an alternative two-year-long workshop (1974–76), with Eikoh Hosoe, Nobuyoshi Araki, Masahisa Fukase, Daidō Moriyama, and Noriaki Yokosuka; the school published the photo magazine Workshop. Tomatsu's dedication to nurturing the photography community in Japan was also evidenced in his role as a juror for the Southern Japan Photography Exhibition and his membership in the Photographic Society of Japan's committee to create a national museum of photography. The efforts of this group led to the establishment of photography departments at major national museums, such as Yokohama Museum of Art and the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo, as well as the first photography museum in Japan, Tokyo Photographic Art Museum. In this, photography is the same thing as love. When my gaze, diving into the sea as my subject, converges with the act of photography, hot sparks fly at the point of intersection. -- Shomei Tomatsu Tomatsu took part in his first major international show, New Japanese Photography (1974) at MoMA New York, alongside workshop members Hosoe, Moriyama, Fukase, and 11 other photographers. New Japanese Photography was the first survey of contemporary Japanese photographers undertaken outside of Japan. It traveled to eight other locations in the United States including the Denver Art Museum, San Francisco Museum of Art, and Portland Art Museum. By 1980, Tomatsu published three more books: Scarlet Dappled Flower (1976) and The Shining Wind (1979) were composed of his images from Okinawa; and Kingdom of Mud (1978) featured his Afghanistan series printed earlier in Assalamu Alaykum. In the early 1980s, Tomatsu had his first international solo exhibition, Shomei Tomatsu: Japan 1952-1981 shown at thirty venues over three years. He was also included in notable international group exhibitions regarding Japanese art: in 1985, he was one of the main artists in Black Sun: The Eyes of Four first shown at the Museum of Modern Art, Oxford; in 1994, he was featured in the seminal show Japanese Art After 1945: Scream Against the Sky at the Yokohama Museum of Art, Guggenheim Museum and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. In the last decade of his career, Tomatsu embarked on a new and comprehensive series of retrospectives, dividing his oeuvre into five "mandalas" of place. Each mandala was named after the area it was exhibited: Nagasaki Mandala (Nagasaki Prefectural Art Museum, 2000); Okinawa Mandala (Urasoe Art Museum, 2002); Kyoto Mandala (Kyoto National Museum of Modern Art, 2003); Aichi Mandala (Aichi Prefectural Museum of Art, 2006); and Tokyo Mandala (Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, 2007). Tomatsu also had a separate retrospective, Shomei Tomatsu: Skin of the Nation, for the international museum circuit. Skin of the Nation was organized by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and curated by Sandra S. Phillips and the photographer and writer Leo Rubinfien. The exhibition toured three countries and five venues from 2004 through 2006: Japan Society (New York); National Gallery of Canada, Corcoran Museum of Art, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and Fotomuseum Winterthur. In 2010 Tomatsu moved to Okinawa permanently, where he held the final exhibition during his lifetime, Tomatsu Shomei and Okinawa - Love Letter to the Sun (2011). He succumbed to pneumonia on 14 December 2012 (although this was not publicly announced until January 2013).Source: Wikipedia
Carole Glauber
Israel
1951
Carole Glauber is an internationally exhibiting, award-winning photographer and photo-historian, based in Israel since 2017. She has a B.S.Ed and a M.Ed. and is the author of two books: "Personal History" (Daylight Books) and "Witch of Kodakery: The Photography of Myra Albert Wiggins 1869-1956" (Washington State University Press). Her photographs have been exhibited in the United States and Europe including PH21 Gallery in Budapest, ValidFoto in Barcelona, Festival Pil'Ours in France, and The Center for Fine Art Photography, Blue Sky Gallery, ASmith Gallery, Soho Photo Gallery, the Griffin Museum of Photography, and the Dr. Bernard Heller Museum amongst others in the United States. Her book "Personal History" received a silver medal from the PX3 Prix de la Photographie Paris and three gold and bronze medals from the Budapest, Tokyo, and Moscow International Foto Awards. Her photography honors include PX3 Prix de la Photographie, Paris, the International Photography Awards, the Tokyo International Foto Awards, the Julia Margaret Cameron Awards, the Pollux Awards, the Mobile Photography Awards, PHmuseum, and the International Krappy Kamera Competition. She is the recipient of a Peter E. Palmquist Photographic History Research Fellowship, a Winterthur Museum Fellowship, an Oregon Humanities Research Fellowship, and numerous grants for her photographic research. She continues her studies and teaching of History of Photography and making photographs of her experiences and observations based on her curiosity and sense of spontaneity. Statement My book, "Personal History" explores the lives of my sons, Ben and Sam—a span covering 30 years. I used a 1950's Kodak Brownie Hawkeye camera for this work which I tried by chance, and discovered I related to the soft colors, the imperfections, and the transcendent quality of the image. During childhood and adolescence, we first experience the world. Spells are woven, our thoughts wander, curiosity grows, and our memories are sown. Friendships, dream chasing, and absorbing knowledge under the glare of the day can all happen. It is the time to discover by divergent thinking; to create, love, and energize without practical concerns of the day. Travel and seeing the world are fresh. They are like waves lapping on the beach. I invited Ben and Sam to write essays about being photographed by their mother for so many years. In effect, they have the final word. For me, the opportunity to photograph my children is like a calm breeze and now I can run with the memories recorded in the soft imagery of time.
Rania Matar
Lebanon/United States
Rania Matar was born and raised in Lebanon and moved to the U.S. in 1984. As a Lebanese-born American woman and mother, her cross-cultural experience and personal narrative inform her photography. Matar's work has been widely published and exhibited in museums worldwide, including the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, the Carnegie Museum of Art, National Museum of Women in the Arts, and more. A mid-career retrospective of her work was recently on view at the Cleveland Museum of Art, and at the Amon Carter Museum of American Art, in a solo exhibition: In Her Image: Photographs by Rania Matar She has received several grants and awards including a 2018 Guggenheim Fellowship, 2017 Mellon Foundation artist-in-residency grant at the Gund Gallery at Kenyon College, 2011 Legacy Award at the Griffin Museum of Photography, 2011 and 2007 Massachusetts Cultural Council artist fellowships. In 2008 she was a finalist for the Foster Award at the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston, with an accompanying solo exhibition. Her work is in the permanent collections of several museums, institutions and private collections worldwide. So far, she has published the following books: L'Enfant-Femme, 2016; A Girl and Her Room, 2012; Ordinary Lives, 2009, and more recently, SHE, 2021. She is currently an associate professor of photography at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design. About SHE "As a Lebanese-born American woman and mother, my background and cross-cultural experiences inform my art. I have dedicated my work to exploring issues of personal and collective identity through photographs of female adolescence and womanhood - both in the United States where I live and the Middle East where I am from - in an effort to focus on notions of identity and individuality, within the context of the underlying universality of these experiences. In my continuous exploration of what it is like to be a girl and a woman today, in a world that poses endless questions on girls and women of all backgrounds, I am focusing in this project on young women in their late teens/early twenties. They are the ages of my daughters - they are leaving the cocoon of home, entering adulthood and facing a new reality they are often not prepared for, a humbling reality most often harder than they expected and less glamorous than what is portrayed on social media. Whereas in A Girl and Her Room, I photographed young women in relationship to the curated and controlled environment of their bedrooms, I am photographing them here in the larger environment they find themselves in after they leave home, the more global backdrop that now constitutes their lives in transitions. I want to portray the raw beauty of their age, their individuality, their physicality, their mystery, and the organic relationship they create with their environment, being in the lush landscapes of rural Ohio, or the textured backdrops of Beirut. I want to photograph them, the way I, a woman and a mother, see them: beautiful, alive. I want to create a personal narrative with them. The process is about collaboration and empowerment, and the photo session always evolves organically as the women become active participants in the image-making process. My work addresses the states of 'Becoming' - the beauty and the vulnerability of growing up - in the context of the visceral relationships to our physical environment and universal humanity. By collaborating with women in the United States and in the Middle East - and while still looking to reveal the individuality of each young woman - I focus on our essence, our physicality and the commonalities that make us human, ultimately highlighting how female subjectivity develops in parallel forms across cultural lines." Find out more about Becoming
Fran Forman
United States
Fran's photo paintings have been exhibited widely, both locally and internationally, and are in many private collections as well the permanent collections of the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum (Washington, DC), the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, The Grace Museum (Texas), the Sunnhordland Museum (Norway), Western Carolina University Fine Art Museum, the Comer Collection at the University of Texas, and the County Down Museum (Northern Ireland). Fran's 2nd major monograph, The Rest Between Two Notes, with 100 color plates and 224 pages is published by Unicorn Publishing and available March 2020. Escape Artist: The Art of Fran Forman was published by SchifferBooks and was selected as one of the Best PhotoBooks of 2014 by Elizabeth Avedon and won First Place in an international competition. Monographs of Fran's solo exhibitions were published by Pucker Gallery in 2018, 2016, and 2014. Fran is also featured in Contemporary Cape Cod Artists: People and Places, 2014, Photoshop Masking and Compositing, 2012, and Internationales Magazin fur Sinnliche Fotografie (Fine Art Photo), 2014, The Hand Magazine, 2016, Blur Magazine (2016), two Pucker Gallery publications, and Shadow and Light, 2015 and 2018. She was Artist in Residence at Holsnoy Kloster, Norway, in 2016 and at The Studios of Key West in 2015. Additionally, she is often asked to juror and curate photo exhibitions. Most recently, Fran has mounted solo exhibitions at The Fox Talbot Museum, Lacock Abbey, England, The Massachusetts State House (The Griffin Museum of Photography), AfterImage Gallery (Dallas), the University of North Dakota, Galeria Photo/Graphica (Mexico), and the Pucker Gallery (Boston), as well as numerous group shows. In the past decade, Fran has won numerous significant awards and prizes; most recently, first place from the Julia Margaret Cameron awards and three awards (First Place, Gold and Silver) from PX3 Prix de la Photographie, Paris. In 2011, she exhibited at the 2nd Biennial International Exhibition, Lishui, China (one of only thirty Americans); she also won the second prize from the World Photography Gala Award (out of over 8000 entries) in People and Portraits; in 2010, she won 1st place in Collage for the Lucie Foundation's International Photo Awards (IPA). She was also a finalist for four straight years in PhotoLucida's Critical Mass. She is represented by Pucker Gallery (Boston), AfterImage Gallery (Dallas), SusanSpiritus Gallery (California), and Galeria Photo/Graphica (Mexico). She is an Affiliated Scholar at the Women's Studies Research Center at Brandeis University, a recipient of several grants and Artist Residencies, and teaches advanced photo-collage internationally. Fran studied art and sociology at Brandeis University, received an MSW in psychiatric social work, and then an MFA from Boston University. She resides in the New England area.
Jean-Francois Jonvelle
France
1943 | † 2002
Jean-François Jonvelle, born on October 3, 1943, in Cavaillon was a French photographer of fashion, glamor and portraiture. Work on the release of 20 ans magazine and then work on Dim, Dam, Dom, Vogue, Stern, Gala, Elle. In the 1960s, Jonvelle was assistant to Richard Avedon. During his career, he made many portraits of women, often his friends: natural young people, often naked, unconcerned. Unlike other fashion and glamor photographers, who offer a provocative woman, Jean-François Jonvelle's performance is much softer, more natural, more jovial but equally sensual. He died at the age of 58 years of terminal cancer, 15 days after it was detected on January 16, 2002, in Paris.Source: Wikipedia Jean-François Jonvelle was snatched by the hand of death with a suddenness to match the photographs that were his life. Just as that life was dedicated to capturing these stolen moments, so death followed suit, carrying him off in the midst of life. A tumor was discovered in early January, a final farewell just a fortnight later. He was gone in a flash. As I turn the pages of my friend’s last book my eyes mist over. My tears dissolve Jonvelle’s photographs into the soft focus of a David Hamilton. Jonvelle’s work is often described as being – in the time-honored formula – ‘sexy but not vulgar’. I prefer his own description of what he sought out: ‘la poésie du quotidien’, ‘the poetry of the everyday’. Photographs freeze moments of truth, all you have to do is choose the ones that do it best. "I tell myself that the present and the future don’t exist", he also used to say. "Everyone, every day, creates their own past." The quality that makes his images more moving than the rest is their vulnerability. Jonvelle taught me one crucial lesson: in photography, as in literature, what counts is feeling. Eroticism and tenderness are not sworn enemies. A downy arm, the frail nape of a neck, an uptilted breast, the curve of a back beneath the sheets, damp hair, closed eyelids, the trace of a kiss on the neck all these can be arousing. Jonvelle’s women are fresh and natural because they are unaware of our gaze. Jonvelle makes adoring voyeurs of us all. He shows us why heterosexuality can be so painful: everywhere, in every house and every bathroom, paradise lurks. Paradise delicately removes her T-shirt, brushes her teeth, buttocks pert, the curve of her breasts taut, timeless. Suddenly paradise parts her legs in silence, biting her fingernails as she looks you straight in the eye, teasing you as she waits for you on the sheets. Jonvelle is in paradise now, but for him nothing has changed: he was already there in his lifetime. As I gaze in wonder, the way I always do, at these images, so far removed from the familiar clichés, my thoughts turn to the beautiful women he immortalized. Photographs fix the fleeting, immortalize the ephemeral. Many of the women Jonvelle photographed are now old or dead, but – thanks to this photographer who is now also dead – their perfection will never fade. Every one of Jonvelle’s photographs is a declaration of love. One day, at my request, he photographed Delphine Vallette, the mother of my daughter. I wanted to give this brunette whom I loved a portrait. Never have I felt such a cuckold – though in the most erotic of ways. Beauty is an evanescent mystery that some artists have the ability to capture. As I look again at these wonderful images, I’m reminded of the title of that American comedy Drop Dead Gorgeous. Jonvelle’s work as a whole is not an ode to femininity; the story it tells is of the battle to vanquish death by means of the celebration of desire. All these shoulders caught by surprise, these half-seen breasts, these finely- arched insteps, these flawless backs, this sensual solitude, this calm between two storms, all these beautiful women who don’t give a damn are simply doors softly opened, through which we may catch a glimpse of eternal life. -- Frédéric Beigbeder Jean-François Jonvelle was born in 1943 in Cavaillon, south of France. Soon he will sell famous melons to buy Hasselblad. Its inspirations will come from the painting of Balthus, Bacon, of Schiele, but the true influence comes from films from Mankiewicz, Lubitsch, Fritz Lang, Orson Welles, Arthur PEN, Minnelli and more recently of Terry Gillian of which it acknowledges to have seen eleven times the film Brazil; Finally its preferred film: Jules and Jim of François Truffaut. In 1959, it is the photographer George Glasberg who initiates him with photography while making him make the turn of France of the cathedrals. It is a photographic revelation which will leave it never again. At the age of 20 he becomes the assistant of the American photographer Richard Avedon. After this enriching experiment he becomes his own 'Master' whose favorite subject will be the woman. Her mom and her small sister of whom he always was very near will be her 'first agreeing victims'. Then come the first 'muse' and accomplice, Tina Sportolaro whom he meets in 1982 and with which he carries out some of his more beautiful images. Will be then Béatrice, Myriam and many others.Source: The Eye of Photography
Tina Modotti
Italy / United States
1896 | † 1942
With her camera, Tina Modotti presents a distinctive vision of 1920s Mexico. As a Hollywood actress turned Comintern agent, Modotti used photography as an artistic and political outlet. Born​ in Udine,Italy,​ ​Modotti emigrated to San Fransico at the age of sixteen. She quickly established herself as a successful actress and modeled for notable photographers including Jane Reece and Edward Weston. The latter became her lover and artistic mentor. In 1923, Weston and Modotti set up a successful portrait studio in Mexico City. While there, Modotti moved within avant-garde circles, befriending Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. It was during this period in Mexico that she developed her passion for both photography and politics; this culminated in a solo exhibition at the National Library in 1929 which emphasized the revolutionary quality of her work. A year later Modotti was exiled from Mexico because of anti-communist sentiments and in 1931 she set aside a promising career in photography to devote herself entirely to political activism. She worked as a Comintern agent until her death in 1942. Although her life and photographic style are often linked with Edward Westo​n, her political engagement and the eye for composition she harnessed to express it are her own. Calla Lilies (1925) represents a cool appraisal of natural beauty and shows Modotti’s interest in formalism, something she shared with Weston, as she emphasizes the stark lighting, the near symmetry, and the tactile presence of the flowers. In Workers Parade (1926), however, while Modotti’s skill in formal composition is still evident, as the lighting and angle emphasize the repeated pattern of the hats, this dramatic view of a May Day parade in Mexico City reveals Modotti’s Communist sympathies and her ambition to use photography to promote political change.Source: Hundred Heroines Tina Modotti was an Italian American photographer, model, actor, and revolutionary political activist for the Comintern. She left Italy in 1913 and moved to the USA, where she worked as a model and subsequently as a photographer. In 1922 she moved to Mexico, where she became an active Communist. Modotti was born Assunta Adelaide Luigia Modotti Mondini in Udine, Friuli, Italy. Her mother, Assunta, was a seamstress; her father, Giuseppe, was a mason. In 1913, at the age of 16, she immigrated to the United States to join her father in San Francisco, California. Attracted to the performing arts supported by the Italian émigré community in the San Francisco Bay Area, Modotti experimented with acting. She appeared in several plays, operas, and silent movies in the late 1910s and early 1920s, and also worked as an artist's model. In 1917, she met Roubaix "Robo" de l'Abrie Richey. Originally a farm boy from Oregon named Ruby Ritchie, the artist and poet assumed the more bohemian name Roubaix. In 1918, Modotti began a romantic relationship with him and moved with him to Los Angeles to pursue a career in the motion picture industry. Although the couple cohabited and lived as a "married couple", they were not married. She was listed as a U.S. citizen in the 1920 Los Angeles township census. Often playing the femme fatale, Modotti's movie career culminated in the 1920 film The Tiger's Coat. She had minor parts in two other films. The couple entered into a bohemian circle of friends. One of these fellow bohemians was Ricardo Gómez Robelo. Another was the photographer, Edward Weston. As a young girl in Italy her uncle, Pietro Modotti, maintained a photography studio. Later in the U.S., her father briefly ran a similar studio in San Francisco. While in Los Angeles, she met the photographer Edward Weston and his creative partner Margrethe Mather. It was through her relationship with Weston that Modotti developed as an important fine art photographer and documentarian. By 1921, Modotti was Weston's lover. Ricardo Gómez Robelo became the head of Mexico's Ministry of Education's Fine Arts Department, and persuaded Robo to come to Mexico with a promise of a job and a studio. Robo left for Mexico in December 1921. Perhaps unaware of his affair with Modotti, Robo took with him prints of Weston's, hoping to mount an exhibition of his and Weston's work in Mexico. While she was on her way to be with Robo, Modotti received word of his death from smallpox on February 9, 1922. Devastated, she arrived two days after his death. In March 1922, determined to see Robo's vision realized, she mounted a two-week exhibition of Robo's and Weston's work at the National Academy of Fine Arts in Mexico City. She sustained a second loss with the death of her father, which forced her to return to San Francisco later in March 1922. In 1923, Modotti returned to Mexico City with Weston and his son Chandler, leaving behind Weston's wife Flora and their youngest three children. She agreed to run Weston's studio free of charge in return for his mentoring her in photography. Together they opened a portrait studio in Mexico City. Modotti and Weston quickly gravitated toward the capital's bohemian scene and used their connections to create an expanding portrait business. Together they found a community of cultural and political "avant-gardists", which included Frida Kahlo, Lupe Marín, Diego Rivera, and Jean Charlot. In general, Weston was moved by the landscape and folk art of Mexico to create abstract works, while Modotti was more captivated by the people of Mexico and blended this human interest with a modernist aesthetic. Modotti also became the photographer of choice for the blossoming Mexican mural movement, documenting the works of José Clemente Orozco and Diego Rivera. Between 1924 and 1928, Modotti took hundreds of photographs of Rivera's murals at the Secretariat of Public Education in Mexico City. Modotti's visual vocabulary matured during this period, such as her formal experiments with architectural interiors, blooming flowers, urban landscapes, and especially in her many beautiful images of peasants and workers during the depression. In 1926, Modotti and Weston were commissioned by Anita Brenner to travel around Mexico and take photographs for what would become her influential book Idols Behind Altars. The relative contributions of Modotti and Weston to the project has been debated. Weston's son Brett, who accompanied the two on the project, indicated that the photographs were taken by Edward Weston. In 1925, Modotti joined International Red Aid, a Communist organization. In November 1926, Weston left Mexico and returned to California. During this time Modotti met several political radicals and Communists, including three Mexican Communist Party leaders who would all eventually become romantically linked with her: Xavier Guerrero, Julio Antonio Mella, and Vittorio Vidali. Starting in 1927, a much more politically active Modotti (she joined the Mexican Communist Party that year) found her focus shifting and more of her work becoming politically motivated. Around that time her photographs began appearing in publications such as Mexican Folkways, Forma, and the more radically motivated El Machete, the German Communist Party's Arbeiter-Illustrierte-Zeitung (AIZ), and New Masses. Mexican photographer Manuel Álvarez Bravo divided Modotti's career as a photographer into two distinct categories: "Romantic" and "Revolutionary", with the former period including her time spent as Weston's darkroom assistant, office manager and, finally, creative partner. Her later works were the focus of her one-woman retrospective exhibition at the National Library in December 1929, which was advertised as "The First Revolutionary Photographic Exhibition In Mexico". As a result of the anti-communist campaign by the Mexican government, Modotti was exiled from Mexico in 1930. She first spent several months in Berlin, followed by several years in Moscow. Traveling on a restricted visa that mandated her final destination as Italy, Modotti initially stopped in Berlin and from there visited Switzerland. The Italian government made concerted efforts to extradite her as a subversive national, but with the assistance of International Red Aid activists, she evaded detention by the fascist police. She apparently intended to make her way into Italy to join the anti-fascist resistance there. In response to the deteriorating political situation in Germany and her own exhausted resources, however, she followed the advice of Vittorio Vidali and moved to Moscow in 1931. After 1931, Modotti no longer photographed. Reports of later photographs are unsubstantiated. During the next few years she engaged in various missions on behalf of the Workers International Relief organizations as a Comintern agent in Europe. When the Spanish Civil War erupted in 1936, Vidali (then known as "Comandante Carlos") and Modotti (using the pseudonym "Maria") left Moscow for Spain, where they stayed and worked until 1939. She worked with Canadian Dr. Norman Bethune during the disastrous retreat from Málaga in 1937. In 1939, following the collapse of the Republican movement in Spain, Modotti left Spain with Vidali and returned to Mexico under a pseudonym. In 1942, at the age of 45, Modotti died from heart failure while on her way home in a taxi from a dinner at Hannes Meyer's home in Mexico City, under what are viewed by some as suspicious circumstances. After hearing about her death, Diego Rivera suggested that Vidali had orchestrated it. Modotti may have "known too much" about Vidali's activities in Spain, which included a rumoured 400 executions. An autopsy showed that she died of natural causes, namely congestive heart failure. Her grave is located within the vast Panteón de Dolores in Mexico City. Source: Wikipedia
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Latest Interviews

Exclusive Interview with Patrick Cariou
For more than 25 years, French photographer Patrick Cariou has traveled to places around the globe, documenting people living on the fringes of society. Whether photographing surfers, gypsies, Rastafarians or the rude boys of Kingston, Cariou celebrates those who meet the struggles of life with honor, dignity and joy. Bringing together works from his groundbreaking monographs including Surfers, Yes Rasta, Trenchtown Love and Gypsies, Patrick Cariou: Works 1985–2005 (published by Damiani) takes us on a scenic journey around the world, offering an intimate and captivating look at cultures that distance themselves from the blessings and curses of modernity.
Exclusive Interview with Niko J. Kallianiotis
Niko J. Kallianiotis' Athênai in Search of Home (published by Damiani) presents photos taken in and around Athens, the city in which he grew up. The images reflect the artist's eagerness to assimilate back into a home that feels at once foreign and familiar. Throughout the years the city and the surrounding territories have experienced their share of socio-economic struggles and topographic transformations that have altered its identity. The city of Athens in Kallianiotis' photographs is elliptically delineated as a vibrant environment that binds together luxury and social inequality. The photographer depicts a city in which the temporal and the spatial elements often clash with each other while conducting his research for a home that has changed over the years as much as he did.
Exclusive Interview with Ave Pildas
My new book STAR STRUCK focuses on the people and places of Hollywood Boulevard. Soon after I moved to Los Angeles in the '70s, I started shooting there. I was working at Capital Records, just a block and a half away, as a one of four art directors. At lunchtime, we would go out to eat at the Brown Derby, Musso, and Franks, or some other local restaurant, and I got to observe all the activity that was occurring on Hollywood Boulevard. It was amazing and it was fun, even though the location was ''on the turn''.
Exclusive Interview with Elaine Mayes
In The Haight-Ashbury Portraits, 1967-1968 (published by Damiani) during the waning days of the Summer of Love, Elaine Mayes embarked on a set of portraits of youth culture in her neighborhood. Mayes was a young photographer living in San Francisco during the 1960s. She had photographed the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967 and, later that year the hippie movement had turned from euphoria to harder drugs, and the Haight had become less of a blissed-out haven for young people seeking a better way of life than a halfway house for runaway teens.
Exclusive Interview with Theophilus Donoghue
A new release, Seventy-thirty (published by Damiani) depicts humanity's various faces and expressions, from metropolitans to migrants, unseen homeless to celebrities such as Robert De Niro, Muhammad Ali, Rene Magritte, Janis Joplin, and Andy Warhol. Steve Schapiro photographs early New York skateboarders while Theophilus Donoghue documents current Colombian breakdancers. Alternately profound and playful, father and son's photographs capture a vast range of human emotions and experiences. For this project, Schapiro selected images from the 60s civil rights movement and, with Donoghue, provided photos from today's Black Lives Matter protests and environmental rallies.
Exlusive Interview with Jessica Todd Harper about her Book Here
Like 17th-century Dutch painters who made otherwise ordinary interior scenes appear charged with meaning, Pennsylvania-based photographer Jessica Todd Harper looks for the value in everyday moments. Her third monograph Here (Published by Damiani) makes use of what is right in front of the artist, Harper shows how our unexamined or even seemingly dull surroundings can sometimes be illuminating
Exclusive Interview with Roger Ballen about his Book Boyhood
In Boyhood (published by Damiani) Roger Ballen's photographs and stories leads us across the continents of Europe, Asia and North America in search of boyhood: boyhood as it is lived in the Himalayas of Nepal, the islands of Indonesia, the provinces of China, the streets of America. Each stunning black-and-white photograph-culled from 15,000 images shot during Ballen's four-year quest-depicts the magic of adolescence revealed in their games, their adventures, their dreams, their Mischief. More of an ode than a documentary work, Ballen's first book is as powerful and current today as it was 43 years ago-a stunning series of timeless images that transcend social and cultural particularities.
Exclusive Interview with Kim Watson
A multi-dimensional artist with decades of experience, Kim Watson has written, filmed, and photographed subjects ranging from the iconic entertainers of our time to the ''invisible'' people of marginalized communities. A highly influential director in music videos' early days, Watson has directed Grammy winners, shot in uniquely remote locations, and written across genres that include advertising, feature films for Hollywood studios such as Universal (Honey), MTV Films, and Warner Brothers, and publishers such as Simon & Schuster. His passionate marriage of art and social justice has been a life-long endeavor, and, in 2020, after consulting on Engagement & Impact for ITVS/PBS, Kim returned to the streets to create TRESPASS, documenting the images and stories of LA's unhoused. TRESPASS exhibited at The BAG (Bestor Architecture Gallery) in Silver Lake, Los Angeles, September 17, 2022 – October 11, 2022.
Exclusive Interview with Julia Dean, Founder of the L.A. Project
Julia Dean, Founder of the Los Angeles Center of Photography, and its executive director for twenty-two years, began The L.A. Project in 2021. A native Nebraskan, Julia has long sought to create a special project where love for her adopted L.A., and her passion for documentary photography can be shared on a grander scale.
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All About Photo Awards 2023
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