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Michal Cala
Michal Cala
Michal Cala

Michal Cala

Country: Poland
Birth: 1948

Michal Cala was born in Toruń, Poland in 1948 and studied aircraft construction in Warsaw at the University of Technology in the early 1970's. From 1974 to 1983 he worked as an engineer in various companies in Silesia, and began photographing in the area. In 1977, he moved to Tychy in Upper Silesia, where he co-founded the photographers' association KRON and become a member of the ZPAF – the Union of Polish Art Photographers.

Relatively unknown outside of his native country, his work is in several museum collections in Poland; in the Silesian Museum of Katowice, the Silesian Library in Katowice, the Upper Silesian Museum in Bytom, the Coal Mining Museum in Zabrze as well as local government building in Duisburg in the Ruhr (Germany) and various private collections. His work has received much acclaim and won numerus awards; among which are the Grand Prix at the Polish Landscape Biennale in Kielce twice, 1979 and 1983 and won the first prise at the Pilsner International Photo Awards in the Industrial category in 2007. His work from Galicia series and the Paysages de Pologne exhibition was shown in France in 1980's. The Silesia exhibition was shown widely in Katowice (1984, 2002, 2008), Krakow (1986, 2006), Warsaw (1986, 2009), in Enschede, the Netherlands, (2012), at the Photo Biennale Mannheim – Ludwigshafen – Heidelberg (2007) and part of group project at the Noorderlicht Photo Festival in the Netherlands (2008). In 2007 he was classified as one of most important Polish photographers in last century and participated in the group exhibition Polish Photography in XX Century (Warsaw, Poland and Vilnius, Lithuania). In the same year, Cala's photography was featured in British Journal of Photography and Foto8 magazine.

Publications on his work include The Anthology of Polish Photography 1839 – 1989, The Masters of Polish Landscape and The Polish Photography in the 20th Century.

His past exhibition Metropolis on Silesian urban landscapes was held at the Silesian Museum in Katowice in 2013 and a solo show Silesia and Galicia in the Museum of History of Photography in 2016 in Krakow (Poland). His photo book based on the same series was recently selected in the Open Submission at Belfast and Athens Photo Festivals respectively (2017).

The latest solo exhibition at MMX Gallery; SILESIA 1975-1985, was the first time his work has been shown in UK.

MMX Gallery about the exhibition Silesia 1975-1985

Michal Cala is regarded as one of the most important Polish photographers of the last century. Cala started taking pictures in his youth and has been working professionally as a photographer for nearly 40 years. Silesia is an industrial district in Poland which at the time of 1970's and early 1980's was experiencing its peak of development and activity. Although providing massive employment for the area, the environmental issues were ignored.

Stepping off the train, Cala encountered the other-worldly landscape for the first time and decided this is what he wanted to make of photographic record of. Fascinated by the subject matter, he devoted himself to photographing the Silesian landscape between 1975 – 1992, which resulted in the series entitled Silesia (Śląsk in Polish). Cala's photography took on various influences ranging from surrealism, which inspired a movement in Poland called "fotografia kreacyjna" (creative photography), and the realism of British New Wave cinema of the late 1950's and early 1960's.

Poland's isolation during the Cold War made it very difficult for photographers to obtain artistic publications. However, some Czech and Polish magazines were publishing Western photographers work such as Edward Weston, Bill Brandt, Robert Frank and Diane Arbus who acted as a window for inspiration. Cala was influenced by landscape, reportage and social documentary photography, which he always portrayed in his personally stylised images. In Poland, political and material conditions were harsh under Soviet influence. Using a basic 35mm Exa 500 camera, he managed to produce images of such a lyrical beauty only to be emphasised again with a dark graphic printing style, to further enhance his vision of the sometimes-apocalyptic looking landscape before him. A single house surrounded by huge cooling towers, majestic slagheaps, lonely figures microscopic when compared to the massive scale of industrial surroundings are subtle metaphors of living in a communist reality. The majority of photographs in the exhibition are vintage silver gelatin prints, made by Cala at the time they were taken.

Source: MMX Gallery

 

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Carrie Mae Weems
United States
1953
Carrie Mae Weems (born 1953) is an American photographer and artist. Her award-winning photographs, films, and videos have been displayed in over 50 exhibitions in the United States and abroad and focus on serious issues that face African Americans today, such as racism, gender relations, politics, and personal identity. She has said, "Let me say that my primary concern in art, as in politics, is with the status and place of Afro-Americans in our country." Weems was born in Portland, Oregon in 1953, the second of seven children to Myrlie and Carrie Weems. She moved out of her parents' home at the age of sixteen, and she soon relocated to San Francisco to study modern dance with Anna Halprin. She decided to continue her arts schooling and attended the California Institute of the Arts, Valencia. She graduated at the age of twenty-eight with her BA. She received her MFA from the University of California, San Diego. Weems also participated in the graduate program in folklore at the University of California, Berkeley. While in her early twenties, Carrie Mae Weems was politically active in the labor movement as a union organizer. Her first camera, which she received as a birthday gift from her then boyfriend,[4] was used for politics rather than for artistic purposes. She was inspired to pursue photography only after she came across The Black Photography Annual, a book of images by African-American photographers. This book contained the work of photographers Shawn Walker, Beuford Smith, Anthony Barboza, Ming Smith, Adger Cowans, and Roy DeCarava, which Weems found inspiring. This led her to New York, and the Studio Museum in Harlem, where she began to meet a number of artists and other photographers such as Frank Stewart and Coreen Simpson, and they began to form a community. In 1976 Weems took a photography class at the Museum taught by Dawoud Bey. She returned to San Francisco, but lived bi-coastally and was involved with the Studio Museum and a community of photographers in New York. In 1983, Carrie Mae Weems completed her first collection of photographs, text, and spoken word called, Family Pictures and Stories. The images told the story of her family, and she has said that in this project she was trying to explore the movement of black families out of the South and into the North, using her family as a model for the larger theme. Her next series, called Ain't Jokin', was completed in 1988. It focused on racial jokes and internalized racism. Another series called American Icons, completed in 1989, also focused on racism. Weems has said that throughout the 1980s she was turning away from the documentary photography genre, instead "creating representations that appeared to be documents but were in fact staged" and also "incorporating text, using multiples images, diptychs and triptychs, and constructing narratives." Gender issues were the next focal point for Carrie Mae Weems. It was the topic of one of her most well known collections called The Kitchen Table series which was completed in 1990. About "Kitchen Table" and "Family Pictures and Stories", Weems has said, "I use my own constructed image as a vehicle for questioning ideas about the role of tradition, the nature of family, monogamy, polygamy, relationships between men and women, between women and their children, and between women and other women—underscoring the critical problems and the possible resolves." She has expressed disbelief and concern about the exclusion of images of the black community, particularly black women, from the popular media, and aims to represent these excluded subjects and speak to their experience through her work. Weems has also reflected on the themes and inspirations of her work as a whole, saying, "...from the very beginning, I've been interested in the idea of power and the consequences of power; relationships are made and articulated through power. Another thing that's interesting about the early work is that even though I've been engaged in the idea of autobiography, other ideas have been more important: the role of narrative, the social levels of humor, the deconstruction of documentary, the construction of history, the use of text, storytelling, performance, and the role of memory have all been more central to my thinking than autobiography." Other series created by Weems include: the Sea Island Series (1991-92), the Africa Series (1993), From Here I Saw What Happened and I Cried (1995-96), Who What When Where (1998), Ritual & Revolution (1998), the Louisiana Project (2003), Roaming (2006), and the Museum Series, which she began in 2007. In her almost thirty year career, Carrie Mae Weems has won numerous awards. She was named Photographer of the Year by the Friends of Photography. In 2005, she was awarded the Distinguished Photographer's Award in recognition of her significant contributions to the world of photography. Her talents have also been recognized by numerous colleges, including Harvard University and Wellesley College, with fellowships, artist-in-residence and visiting professor positions. The first comprehensive retrospective of her work opened in September 2012 at the Frist Center for the Visual Arts in Nashville, TN. Weems lives in Brooklyn, NY and Syracuse, NY, with her husband Jeffrey Hoone.(Source: en.wikipedia.org)
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Sergey Prokudin-Gorsky
Russia
1863 | † 1944
Sergey Mikhaylovich Prokudin-Gorsky (Russian, August 30, 1863 Russian Empire – September 27, 1944) was a Russian chemist and photographer. He is best known for his pioneering work in color photography of early 20th-century Russia.Prokudin-Gorsky was born in the ancestral estate of Funikova Gora, in what is now Kirzhachsky District, Vladimir Oblast. His parents were of the Russian nobility, and the family had a long military history. They moved to Saint Petersburg, where Prokudin-Gorsky enrolled in Saint Petersburg State Institute of Technology to study chemistry under Dmitri Mendeleev. He also studied music and painting at the Imperial Academy of Arts. In 1890, Prokudin-Gorsky married Anna Aleksandrovna Lavrova, and later the couple had two sons, Mikhail and Dmitri, and a daughter, Ekaterina. Anna was the daughter of the Russian industrialist Aleksandr Stepanovich Lavrov, an active member in the Imperial Russian Technical Society (IRTS). 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He was appointed to a new professorship under the new regime, but he left the country in August 1918. He still pursued scientific work in color photography, published papers in English photography journals and, together with his colleague S. O. Maksimovich, obtained patents in Germany, England, France and Italy.In 1920, Prokudin-Gorsky remarried and had a daughter with his assistant Maria Fedorovna née Schedrimo. The family finally settled in Paris in 1922, reuniting with his first wife and children. Prokudin-Gorsky set up a photo studio there together with his three adult children, naming it after his fourth child, Elka. In the 1930s, the elderly Prokudin-Gorsky continued with lectures showing his photographs of Russia to young Russians in France, but stopped commercial work and left the studio to his children, who named it Gorsky Frères. He died at Paris on September 27, 1944, and is buried in the Sainte-Geneviève-des-Bois Russian Cemetery.Documentary of the Russian EmpireAround 1905, Prokudin-Gorsky envisioned and formulated a plan to use the emerging technological advances that had been made in color photography to document the Russian Empire systematically. Through such an ambitious project, his ultimate goal was to educate the schoolchildren of Russia with his "optical color projections" of the vast and diverse history, culture, and modernization of the empire. Outfitted with a specially equipped railroad-car darkroom provided by Tsar Nicholas II and in possession of two permits that granted him access to restricted areas and cooperation from the empire's bureaucracy, Prokudin-Gorsky documented the Russian Empire around 1909 through 1915. He conducted many illustrated lectures of his work. His photographs offer a vivid portrait of a lost world—the Russian Empire on the eve of World War I and the coming Russian Revolution. His subjects ranged from the medieval churches and monasteries of old Russia, to the railroads and factories of an emerging industrial power, to the daily life and work of Russia's diverse population. It has been estimated from Prokudin-Gorsky's personal inventory that before leaving Russia, he had about 3500 negatives. Upon leaving the country and exporting all his photographic material, about half of the photos were confiscated by Russian authorities for containing material that seemed to be strategically sensitive for war-time Russia. According to Prokudin-Gorsky's notes, the photos left behind were not of interest to the general public. Some of Prokudin-Gorsky's negatives were given away, and some he hid on his departure. Outside the Library of Congress collection, none has yet been found.By Prokudin-Gorsky's death, the tsar and his family had long since been executed during the Russian Revolution, and Communist rule had been established over what was once the Russian Empire. The surviving boxes of photo albums and fragile glass plates the negatives were recorded on were finally stored in the basement of a Parisian apartment building, and the family was worried about them getting damaged. The United States Library of Congress purchased the material from Prokudin-Gorsky's heirs in 1948 for $3500–$5000 on the initiative of a researcher inquiring into their whereabouts. The library counted 1902 negatives and 710 album prints without corresponding negatives in the collection.(Source: en.wikipedia.org)
Martin Munkácsi
Hungary
1896 | † 1963
Martin Munkácsi (born Mermelstein Márton; Kolozsvár, Hungary, May 18, 1896; died July 13, 1963, New York, NY) was a Hungarian photographer who worked in Germany (1928–34) and the United States, where he was based in New York City.Munkácsi was a newspaper writer and photographer in Hungary, specializing in sports. At the time, sports action photography could only be done in bright light outdoors. Munkácsi's innovation was to make sports photographs as meticulously composed action photographs, which required both artistic and technical skill. Munkácsi's legendary big break was to happen upon a fatal brawl, which he photographed. Those photos affected the outcome of the trial of the accused killer, and gave Munkácsi considerable notoriety. That notoriety helped him get a job in Berlin in 1928, for the Berliner Illustrirte Zeitung, where his first published photo was a race car splashing its way through a puddle. He also worked for the fashion magazine Die Dame. More than just sports and fashion, he photographed Berliners, rich and poor, in all their activities. He traveled to Turkey, Sicily, Egypt, London, New York, and famously Liberia, for photo spreads in the Berliner Illustrirte Zeitung. The speed of the modern age and the excitement of new photographic viewpoints enthralled him, especially flying. There are aerial photographs; there are air-to-air photographs of a flying school for women; there are photographs from a Zeppelin, including the ones on his trip to Brazil, where he crosses over a boat whose passengers wave to the airship above. On March 21, 1933, he photographed the fateful Day of Potsdam, when the aged President Paul von Hindenburg handed Germany over to Adolf Hitler. On assignment for the Berliner Illustrirte Zeitung, he photographed Hitler's inner circle, although he was a Jewish foreigner. In 1934, the Nazis nationalized the Berliner Illustrirte Zeitung, fired its Jewish editor-in-chief, Kurt Korff, and replaced its innovative photography with pictures of German troops. Munkácsi left for New York, where he signed on, for a substantial $100,000, with Harper's Bazaar, a top fashion magazine. In a change from usual practice, he often left the studio to shoot outdoors, on the beach, on farms and fields, at an airport. He produced one of the first articles in a popular magazine to be illustrated with nude photographs. His portraits include Katharine Hepburn, Leslie Howard, Jean Harlow, Joan Crawford, Jane Russell, Louis Armstrong, and the definitive dance photograph of Fred Astaire. Munkácsi died in poverty and controversy. Several universities and museums declined to accept his archives, and they were scattered around the world. Berlin's Ullstein Archives and Hamburg's F. C. Gundlach collection are home to two of the largest collections of Munkácsi's work.(Source: en.wikipedia.org)
Ralph Eugene Meatyard
United States
1925 | † 1972
Ralph Eugene Meatyard (May 15, 1925 – May 7, 1972) was an American photographer from Normal, Illinois, U.S. Meatyard was born in Normal, Illinois and raised in the nearby town of Bloomington. When he turned 18 during World War II, he joined the United States Navy, though he did not serve overseas before the war ended. After leaving the force he briefly studied pre-dentistry, before training to become an optician. He moved with his new wife Madelyn to Lexington, Kentucky to continue working as an optician for Tinder-Krausse-Tinder, a company which also sold photographic equipment. The owners of the company were active members of the Lexington Camera Club, for which the Art Department of the University of Kentucky provided exhibition space. Meatyard purchased his first camera in 1950 to photograph his newborn first child, and subsequently worked primarily with a Rolleiflex medium-format camera. He joined the Lexington Camera club and the Photographic Society of America in 1954. At the Lexington Camera Club he met Van Deren Coke, who exhibited work by Meatyard in an exhibition for the university entitled Creative Photography in 1956. During the mid-1950s, Ralph Eugene Meatyard attended a series of summer workshops run by Henry Holmes Smith at Indiana University, and also with Minor White, who fostered Meatyard's interest in Zen Philosophy. An autodidact and voracious reader, Meatyard worked in productive bursts, often leaving his film undeveloped for long stretches, then working feverishly in the makeshift darkroom in his home. "His approach was somewhat improvisational and very heavily influenced by the jazz music of the time." He used his children in his work addressing the surreal "masks" of identity. Much of his work was made in abandoned farmhouses in the central Kentucky bluegrass region during family weekend outings and in derelict spaces around Lexington. Some of his earliest camera work was made in the traditionally African-American neighborhood around Lexington's Old Georgetown Street. Meatyard was a close acquaintance of several well-known writers in the Kentucky literary renaissance of the 1960s and 1970s, including his neighbor Guy Davenport, who later helped compile a posthumous edition of his photos. In 1971, Meatyard co-authored a book on Kentucky's Red River Gorge, The Unforeseen Wilderness, with writer Wendell Berry. The two frequently traveled into the Appalachian foothills. Berry and Meatyard's book contributed to saving the gorge from destruction by a proposed Army Corps of Engineers dam. Meatyard's ashes were scattered in the gorge after his death. Meatyard was also a friend and correspondent of Catholic monk and writer Thomas Merton, who lived at the Abbey of Gethsemani, a Trappist monastery just west of Bardstown, Kentucky. Merton appeared in a number of Meatyard's experimental photographs taken on the grounds of the monastery, and they shared an interest in literature, philosophy, and Eastern and Western spirituality. Meatyard wrote Merton's eulogy in the Kentucky Kernel shortly after his death in Bangkok, Thailand, in December 1968. Meatyard died four years later, in 1972, of cancer. Though Lexington was not a well-established center of photography, Meatyard did not consider himself a "Southern" or regional photographer. His work was beginning to be recognized nationally at the time of his death, shown and collected by some prominent museums and published in magazines. He exhibited with photographers including Edward Weston, Ansel Adams, Minor White, Aaron Siskind, Harry Callahan, Robert Frank, and Eikoh Hosoe. By the late 1970s, his photographs appeared mainly in exhibitions of 'southern' art, but have since attracted renewed interest. His best-known photography featured dolls and masks, or family, friends and neighbors pictured in abandoned buildings or in ordinary suburban backyards.Source: Wikipedia Ralph Eugene Meatyard lived in Lexington, Kentucky, where he made his living as an optician while creating an impressive and enigmatic body of photographs. Meatyard’s creative circle included mystics and poets, such as Thomas Merton and Guy Davenport, as well as the photographers Cranston Ritchie and Van Deren Coke, who were mentors and fellow members of the Lexington Camera Club. Meatyard’s work spanned many genres and experimented with new means of expression, from dreamlike portraits—often set in abandoned places—to multiple exposures, motion-blur, and other methods of photographic abstraction. He also collaborated with his friend Wendell Berry on the 1971 book The Unforeseen Wilderness, for which Meatyard contributed photographs of Kentucky’s Red River Gorge. Meatyard’s final series, The Family Album of Lucybelle Crater, are cryptic double portraits of friends and family members wearing masks and enacting symbolic dramas. Museum exhibitions of the artist’s work have recently been presented at Art Institute of Chicago; The Philadelphia Museum of Art; the de Young Museum, San Francisco; The International Center of Photography, New York; Cincinnati Museum of Art, Ohio; the Center for Creative Photography, Tucson; and Blanton Museum of Art, Austin, Texas. His works are held in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, J. Paul Getty Museum, The Eastman Museum, and Yale University Art Gallery, among others. Monographs include American Mystic, Dolls and Masks, A Fourfold Vision, and The Family Album of Lucybelle Crater and Other Figurative Photographs.Source: Fraenkel Gallery
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Exclusive Interview with Francesco Gioia
Francesco Gioia is an Italian photographer who lives in England. He is the winner of AAP Magazine 15 Streets with his project 'Wake Up in London'. We asked him a few questions about his life and work
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Solo Exhibition November 2021
Win an Onine Solo Exhibition in November 2021