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Martine Franck
Martine Franck and Henri Cartier-Bresson at the Rencontres Internationales de la Photographie d'Arles 1974
Martine Franck
Martine Franck

Martine Franck

Country: Belgium
Birth: 1938 | Death: 2012

Franck was born in Antwerp to the Belgian banker Louis Franck and his British wife, Evelyn. After her birth the family moved almost immediately to London. A year later, her father joined the British army, and the rest of the family were evacuated to the United States, spending the remainder of the Second World War on Long Island and in Arizona.

Franck's father was an amateur art collector who often took his daughter to galleries and museums. Franck was in boarding school from the age of six onwards, and her mother sent her a postcard every day, frequently of paintings. Ms. Franck, attended Heathfield School, an all-girls boarding school close to Ascot in England, and studied the history of art from the age of 14. "I had a wonderful teacher who really galvanized me," she says. "In those days she took us on outings to London, which was the big excitement of the year for me."

Franck studied art history at the University of Madrid and at the Ecole du Louvre in Paris. After struggling through her thesis (on French sculptor Henri Gaudier-Brzeska and the influence of cubism on sculpture), she said she realized she had no particular talent for writing, and turned to photography instead.

In 1963, Franck's photography career started following trips to the Far East, having taken pictures with her cousin’s Leica camera. Returning to France in 1964, now possessing a camera of her own, Franck became an assistant to photographers Eliot Elisofon and Gjon Mili at Time-Life. By 1969 she was a busy freelance photographer for magazines such as Vogue, Life and Sports Illustrated, and the official photographer of the Théâtre du Soleil (a position she held for 48 years). From 1970 to 1971 she worked in Paris at the Agence Vu photo agency, and in 1972 she co-founded the Viva agency.

In 1980, Franck joined the Magnum Photos cooperative agency as a "nominee", and in 1983 she became a full member. She was one of a very small number of women to be accepted into the agency.

In 1983, she completed a project for the now-defunct French Ministry of Women's Rights and in 1985 she began collaborating with the non-profit International Federation of Little Brothers of the Poor. In 1993, she first traveled to the Irish island of Tory where she documented the tiny Gaelic community living there. She also traveled to Tibet and Nepal, and with the help of Marilyn Silverstone photographed the education system of the Tibetan Tulkus monks. In 2003 and 2004 she returned to Paris to document the work of theater director Robert Wilson who was staging La Fontaine's fables at the Comédie Française.

Nine books of Franck's photographs have been published, and in 2005 Franck was made a chevalier of the French Légion d'Honneur.

Franck continued working even after she was diagnosed with bone cancer in 2010. Her last exhibition was in October 2011 at the Maison Européenne de la Photographie. The exhibit consisted of 62 portraits of artists "coming from somewhere else" collected from 1965 through 2010. This same year, there were collections of portraits shown at New York's Howard Greenberg Gallery and at the Claude Bernard Gallery, Paris.

Franck was well known for her documentary-style photographs of important cultural figures such as the painter Marc Chagall, philosopher Michel Foucault and poet Seamus Heaney, and of remote or marginalized communities such as Tibetan Buddhist monks, elderly French people, and isolated Gaelic speakers. Michael Pritchard, the Director-General of the Royal Photographic Society, observed: "Martine was able to work with her subjects and bring out their emotions and record their expressions on film, helping the viewer understand what she had seen in person. Her images were always empathetic with her subject." In 1976, Frank took one of her most iconic photos of bathers beside a pool in Le Brusc, Provence. By her account, she saw them from a distance and rushed to photograph the moment, all the while changing the roll of film in her camera. She quickly closed the lens just at the right moment, when happened to be most intense.

She cited as influences the portraits of British photographer Julia Margaret Cameron, the work of American photojournalist Dorothea Lange and American documentary photographer Margaret Bourke-White. In 2010, she told The New York Times that photography "suits my curiosity about people and human situations."

She worked outside the studio, using a 35 mm Leica camera, and preferring black and white film. The British Royal Photographic Society has described her work as "firmly rooted in the tradition of French humanist documentary photography."

Source: Wikipedia


Born in Belgium, Martine Franck (1938-2012) grew up in the United States and in England. She studied art history at the University of Madrid and at the École du Louvre in Paris.

In 1963, she went to China, taking her cousin's Leica camera with her, and discovered the joys of documenting other cultures. Returning home via Hong Kong, Cambodia, India, Afghanistan and Turkey, and bought her first camera while on the trip. Returning to France, she worked as a photographic assistant at Time-Life where she developed her own technique.

In 1966, Franck met Henri Cartier-Bresson, whose photographs epitomized Magnum's tradition of humanitarian photography. Franck was adamant that she would neither bask in his reflection nor disappear in his shadow and she joined the Vu agency in 1970. Her first solo exhibition was planned for the ICA in London that year; when she saw that the invitations were embossed with the information that her husband would be present at the launch, she cancelled the show. With Vu's demise, Franck co-founded the Viva agency in 1972. It also collapsed and it was not until 1980 that Franck joined Magnum, becoming a full member in 1983. She was one of the few women to be accepted into the agency and served as vice-president from 1998 to 2000. Eschewing the war/human tragedy reportage that characterized Magnum's reputation, Franck continued her projects on marginal or isolated lives throughout the rest of her life.

Source: Howard Greenberg Gallery

 

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United Kingdom
1950
John Novis is photographer and story teller working on environmental issues, particularly climate change for the last 30 years. Climate Change is the biggest global threat ever known to mankind, yet it is the most challenging and difficult subject to visualize to any great effect. Any image presented, be it extreme weather events, scientific evidence or global protests can be argued against by a sceptic media, governments and industry. It is precisely this challenge that drives concerned photographers to push ever more creative photos into the image pool to drive home the importance of this emergency of our times. We are getting somewhere thanks to Greta Thunberg and Environmental groups such as Greenpeace, Extinction Rebellion etc. which provide scope for compelling pictures. Social media has also provided a valuable platform for citizen journalism reporting climate related events as they unfold in real time. How I got there I stared my career in photography in London during the 'swinging 60's 'years working with high profile photographers in Vogue, Apple Corp (Beatles), top Fashion and Industrial photo studios Adrian Ensor Labs up until 1977 when I enrolled on a 3 year 'Creative Photography' course in Nottingham University under the guidance of Thomas Joshua Cooper and Raymond Moore. In 1980 I received a grant from UK South East Arts to make a 30 minute, 16mm film called 'Our trip to the Zoo' analysing the family snapshot with the old Kodak slogan – 'to capture life'. Throughout most of the 80's I worked as a freelance commercial photographer and then in 1989 I joined Greenpeace as an in –house photographer where I was employed until 2015. Just before I joined Greenpeace, I was becoming disillusioned with photography as an instrument for advertising and generating profit. It was though Greenpeace I was able to employ my expertise in photography to produce images that would serve as a wake-up call to the critical state of our environment. As photography became more important to the organisation I became Head of Photography at the international headquarters in Amsterdam, directing major photo projects such as: - Ocean and whaling expeditions, Amazon – Illegal logging, Yunnan, China campaigning against the introduction of GMO rice to the rice growing communities, Climate in Crisis - Yellow River drying up, the Disappearing Glaciers on Everest, Climate and Poverty along the Silk Road in Gansu Province, China - Palm oil production in Riau, Indonesia and 'Forest Solutions' global communities living from the forest management towards a sustainable solution. In addition, I have also worked on numerous successful publications including the nuclear industry of Russia with Dutch photographer Robert Knoth, (Panos) and Bhopal – '' with Raghu Rai (Magnum). My professional services outside Greenpeace have included, organizing and hosting the Beijing Photo Master Classes with World Press Photo winners, member of the jury for the 2007 CHIPP (China International Press Photo Contest) and Member of the Jury and visiting lecturer to Fotopub, Slovenia July 2008. Directing a major exhibition and slide show at 1999 Perpignan, Visa Pour L'image with an interview with Jean Francois Leroy on stage. In 2012 I ran a photo workshop and curated a renewable energy exhibition at the Angkor Photo Festival in Siem Reap, Cambodia and was invited as guest speaker for Wild Photos at the Royal Geographic society in 2011. I am currently working on Climate Emergency events and supporting on line publications with consultancy and archive picture material.
Matthew Portch
United Kingdom
1970
I was born and raised in Bristol, England through the '70s and '80s in a typical suburb. As a child, television and movies were my favourite distraction, especially anything from the United States. The backdrop of the North American scenery felt like an exotic antidote to the humdrum of the English city suburbs and countryside. I was a keen illustrator spending hours pouring over the minutia of the subject matter. I wanted my drawings to feel as close to reality as possible. This work saw me enrolled in college at a young age where I studied Photography and Graphic Design. Drawing on my childhood memories, the visuals of the American landscape remained a major influence on my photography. I became inspired by North American photographers of the '60s and '70s who were prevalent in using large format film. This laborious system of capture enhanced these seemingly ordinary looking street scenes and vistas with fastidious detail. I discovered a more modern process in the form of a technical camera, digital back, and precision optics, then proceeded to cast my own journey. I like my pictures to be aesthetically simple, clean and graphic, which resonates with my background in design. I prefer the images to retain an air of perplexity, so keeping them free of people and any notable present-day object helps suspend them in a moment in time. As with most large format photography techniques, when I photograph a scene I capture everything across the frame in complete focus. This can lend a heightened sense of reality. Given each picture is deliberately simple and mundane – the detail of the capture is just as important as the subject matter and becomes a character of the image in itself. I use the full size of the sensor and prefer not to crop. Restricting myself to this discipline is almost a digital reverence to large format film. My creative vision is to capture a calm and melancholic disposition in the landscape and create a scene of discernible simplicity to evoke an emotional and response from within. About Lost America Lost America examines a quiet stillness in a forgotten landscape that is, in a sense: 'on-pause'. Backwater towns and rural corners are juxtaposed with the ambiguity of detached suburbia. Places appear frozen in time, their inhabitants absent or long since departed. Ardently stagnant in their appearance, the images aim to unlock a moment of reflective contemplation and instil a melancholic feeling of familiarity. One might not notice or acknowledge these spaces, especially when viewed within the vast stretch of America's panorama. Yet, when framed as a single vignette, the places can appear to echo a moment of mournful reverie. Or, for some, they might behold an alluringly sombre, everlasting impression.
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