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Gabriel Isak
Gabriel Isak
Gabriel Isak

Gabriel Isak

Country: Sweden
Birth: 1990

Gabriel Isak was born in 1990 in Huskvarna, Sweden. In 2016, he received his Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Photography at Academy of Art University in San Francisco, California. Isak has exhibited his work at solo exhibitions at The Cannery Gallery, San Francisco, California and his works have been included in various important exhibitions including "Acclimatize" at Museum of Modern Art, Stockholm, Sweden and "Culture Pop" at M Contemporary, Sydney, Australia. Isak lives and works in Stockholm, Sweden, from where he travels all around the world for personal and commissioned projects.

Artist Statement

Gabriel Isak's art entails surreal and melancholic scenes where he invites the viewer to interact with the inner world of solitary figures that symbolize our own unconscious states. He uses photography as a medium to draw and paint surreal images, minimal and graphic in its aesthetic, rich in symbolism and emotion, focusing on themes inspired by human psychology, dreams and romanticism, as well as his own experiences, especially the years he went through depression. Isak's work is a serene and melancholic meditation that stills the chaos of life and transforms into an introspective journey that questions the depths of existence. The objective of Gabriel Isak's art is to shine a light on the experiences of being and the states of mind those brings along. His subjects are anonymous, imprisoned in monochromatic settings, so the viewer can envision oneself as the subject, reflecting back on one's own experiences and journey in life.
 

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Fabian Muir
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 Atom
Japan
1980
ATOM is a Japanese photographer, born in 1980, based in Tokyo. ATOM spent years travelling around the world to take pictures; he visited 64 countries in total and encountered many cultures and many people. The experience gained from the trip raised many questions for himself. What does it mean to life, coexistence with nature, happiness and purpose of living for? And the fundamental question is, "Why am I born in Japan in this age?" By leaving Japan, he reconsidered his homeland and pondered about living as a Japanese and a modern people. Conscious of his identity as a Japanese, he uses the motifs of symbols that symbolize Japan, takes a photo of the present age, and prints it on the most precious handmade Japanese paper in Japan. Using these media, ATOM decided to deliver the message to the world. In today's diverse world, ATOM hope that you will face yourself and think about the future through the work of ATOM. ATOM has been active as a photographer in the world. His works have been published internationally in publication such as Washington Post(USA), My Modern Met(USA), Weather Channel(USA), 20minutos(Spain), incredibilia(Italy), Hong Kong and others. He also won many international awards. ATOM will continue to experience many things, and explore and express the meaning of living in the present age as a Japanese. HINOMARU, KIMONO and TORII HINOMARU is an alias name of the Japanese flag. KIMONO is a Japanese traditional costume. TORII is a gate commonly found at the shrine. In the photos, ATOM use the Japanese flag, traditional costume and shrine to symbolize money (economic power), declining birthrate and dilution of community. For some, they may seem to represent Japanese religion (Buddhism, Christianity, and Shinto). For others, they may associate the "red circle" with harmony, coins (money), countries or peace; the "red kimono" with their lover, health or cross (religion); the "red torii" with home or relationship with their family. This minimalistic photo is two colors red and white. The colors of red and white represent Japan's national color. And in this photo, he shoot it so that it looks like a Japanese painting without a shadow. This minimalistic photography series raises questions to the modern society, makes the viewer face and think about the present age as well as imagine the future. Today, we live in a rational, material world; we have too much information, and too much stuff. We can get almost anything with a single click. In exchange, however, there are things we have lost: health, appreciation for things we are given, time to spend with our families, time to think and question ourselves, the definition of happiness... Get promoted. Be rich. Become famous. Are you not bound by these stereotypes? How long will you keep pretending to be something you are not, just to gratify your vanity? What is happiness to you? What does abundance mean to you? What is it that you really need? From the age of materialism to the age of mind. Look at these minimal photos. How do they look to you?
Lucas Foglia
United States
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Lucas Foglia grew up on a small family farm in New York and currently lives in San Francisco. His work focuses on the intersection of human belief systems and the natural world. He recently published his third book of photographs, Human Nature, with Nazraeli Press. Foglia exhibits internationally, and his prints are in notable collections including International Center of Photography, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and Victoria and Albert Museum. He photographs for magazines including Bloomberg Businessweek, National Geographic Magazine, and The New York Times Sunday Magazine. Foglia also collaborates with non-profit organizations including Sierra Club, The Nature Conservancy, and Winrock International. Source: lucasfoglia.com A Natural Order I grew up with my extended family on a small farm in the suburbs of New York City. While malls and supermarkets developed around us, we farmed and canned our food, and heated our house with wood. We bartered the plants we grew for everything from shoes to dental work. But, while my family followed many principles of the back-to-the-land movement, by the time I was eighteen we owned three tractors, four cars, and five computers. This mixing of the modern world into our otherwise rustic life made me curious to see what a completely self-sufficient way of living might look like. From 2006 through 2010, I traveled throughout the southeastern United States befriending, photographing, and interviewing a network of people who left cities and suburbs to live off the grid. Motivated by environmental concerns, religious beliefs, or the global economic recession, they chose to build their homes from local materials, obtain their water from nearby springs, and hunt, gather, or grow their own food. All the people in my photographs aspire to be self-sufficient, but no one I found lives in complete isolation from the mainstream. Many have websites that they update using laptop computers, and cell phones that they charge on car batteries or solar panels. They do not wholly reject the modern world. Instead, they step away from it and choose the parts that they want to bring with them. Frontcountry The American West is famous for being wild, even though its rural areas have been settled for generations. The regions I photographed between are some of the least populated in the United States. In rural Nevada, there are still twice as many cows as there are people. While the ranchers I met were struggling to survive the economic recession and years of drought, almost anyone could get a job at the mines. Coal, oil, natural gas, and gold were booming. Ranching and mining in the American West have had parallel histories and a common landscape. Cowboys and ranching culture are the chosen representatives of the region. Men on horseback ride through countless movies. Their images are printed on license plates and tourist souvenirs. But, the biggest profits are in mining. Though miners haven't found any raw nuggets for generations, the American West remains one of the largest gold producing regions in the world. Companies are digging increasingly bigger holes to find smaller deposits, leaving pits where there once were mountains. When I first visited, I expected cowboys to be nomads, herding animals on the edge of wilderness. I quickly learned that most ranchers have homes with mortgages. I also learned that all mines close eventually. When a mine closes, the land is scarred. The company leaves and people have to move. Miners are the modern-day nomads, following jobs across the country.
Callie Eh
Malaysia
1972
Photography helps people to see - Berenice Abbott Snap, and a moment is captured, forever still, saved for generations to see; For Callie Eh, photography is more than a way of making memories, it was a lifesaver and picked her up at a difficult time in her life and has not let her go ever since. Originally from Malaysia, Callie has lived in various countries and is now based in Zurich, Switzerland. Callie started taking photos in 2008 but becoming a photographer is not something she has planned in the first place. At least not until 2015 when she moved to Poland, and her work was discovered by Gaston Sitbon, a cafe owner. What also later really impacted her was a documentary workshop in Krakow in 2016, which was extremely intense and deeply changed her photography point of view, on how to make a better picture. Callie loves to photograph people in their daily life and tell their stories through her lens, for Callie, the camera is a friendly tool to get close to various people and Photographs hold the power to connect people and she became open to different cultures, understand more about their dreams and interests, conversations on diversity and equality before sharing them with you. Although some people lead a difficult life, for Callie it is important to express their happiness in the pictures. She points out that often the people who have the least are the kindest and happiest. Her work has been exhibited, awarded, and Published internationally. Recently Callie is one of the "Photo is Light award" Top 10 winners of Photojournalism 2020 Edition and Published in Leica Switzerland Yearly Courrier Magazine 2020. The Door to a Brighter Future My time at Sambhali (NGO) has taught me a lot and opened my eyes to the inequalities in this world. In this male-dominated country - India, most of these women have no social value and they are expected to be a housekeeper. Many women are still trapped in the veil - Ghoonghat, a symbol of identity is observed by Hindu women across castes, classes, and walks of life, in and outside Rajasthan, they have been worn for decades. Sambhali Trust, whose focus provides underprivileged Rajasthan women and kids with an education in English, Hindi, Math, and social skills, to support them in developing confidence and self-esteem and help them work towards financial independence. The majority of the girls and women at the centers are from low castes and some have difficult backgrounds. These women are so hungry for knowledge and have to fight so hard to get it, most of the Sambhali women were so bright and naturally intelligent. I’ve come away with a better understanding of real lives and society in India, as well as the freedom and responsibility that comes with it. These women live in a world where their every move is dictated by men, and to break that tradition by pursuing an education and skill. You may look at this a simple sewing machine and education, but is the door opening up to these women and children to fulfill their dream to be able to change their life in the future.
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Erwin Olaf
Netherlands
1959
Erwin Olaf (b. 1959) is an internationally exhibiting artist with works in the collections of museums and galleries around the world. Olaf has received numerous highly prestigious commissions and awards. Olaf emerged onto the international art scene when his series ‘Chessmen’ won the Young European Photographer of the Year award in 1988. This was followed by an exhibition at the Ludwig Museum in Cologne, with subsequent solo and group shows at major museums and galleries around the world, including Centro de Arte Contemporaneo de Málaga, Museum of Image and Sound in São Paulo, Martin-Gropius-Bau in Berlin, SECCA in North Carolina and Santiago Museum of Contemporary Art. In 2018 the Rijksmuseum has accuired 500 key artworks from his fourty-year oeuvre for their collection. This follows recent official portraits for the Dutch royal family and the design of the new Euro coin for King Willem Alexander. Rutger Pontzen, art critic for Dutch newspaper the Volkskrant said, ‘Controversial or not, Erwin Olaf does give a picture of the Netherlands’.. ‘and that makes him distinctive in Dutch photography’.. ‘In other words, his oeuvre belongs to the cultural heritage’. Starting his career as a photojournalist documenting the gay scene of the 1980s, Olaf increasingly sought and defined his own subjects, often explored in series of works in black and white (Squares, Chessmen and Blacks) and colour (Mind of their Own, Rain, Hope, Grief, Dusk, and Dawn). In recent years he has developed his themes through the form of monumental tableaux, for which he adopts the role of director as well as photographer. Olaf is a master of this craft, a virtuoso in the fine and subtle arts of photography and drama suffused with stillness, contemplation and dreamlike mystery. He is also a true picture maker, showing a close affinity with Old Masters and contemporary artists alike, from Rembrandt to Mapplethorpe, and in that sense his work emphatically bridges the gap between historical and contemporary picture-making. Now internationally renowned, Erwin Olaf’s photography remains an essential part of the Netherlands’ cultural heritage. Taco Dibbits, Rijksmuseum director, says, ‘his work is deeply rooted in the visual traditions of Dutch art and history’ and that consequently Olaf is ‘one of the most important photographers of the final quarter of the 20th century’. From progression to decay, notions of transformation are prevalent throughout Olaf’s work with a multitude of projects proving his fascination for society’s ever-changing demands, its simultaneous development and devolution of our moral compass, and its cultivated sense of anticipation for an almost-achievable contentment. These are the preoccupations that add a fascinating dimension to ‘Skin Deep’ and ‘Tamed and Anger’, but also colour the tension in ‘Separation’ which explores the artist’s relationship with his mother, the controversial ‘Royal Blood’, the pressures of ageing in ‘Mature’ and the self-portrait series ‘I Wish, I Am, I Will Be’. All these projects reveal the friction of an imperfect reality hidden beneath a perfectly curated façade. His most recent work sees the conclusion of the three-part project ‘Shifting Metropolises’ [working title] - a series of artworks looking at internationally renowned cities undergoing seismic change in the modern world. Rather than fabricating a controlled studio environment, this trilogy is the only time the artist has shot on location, retaining his characteristic cinematic associations to produce a body of work wrought with the genuine emotions and neuroses of these places and their inhabitants. A bold approach to his work has earned Olaf a number of commissions from institutions including Louis Vuitton, Vogue, the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, and the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, for which he designed the 2016 ‘Catwalk’ exhibition, including a promotional video and photographic campaign. He has been awarded Photographer of the Year in the International Colour Awards 2006 and Kunstbeeld magazine’s Dutch Artist of the Year 2007 as well as the Netherlands’ prestigious Johannes Vermeer Prize. Additional international awards include the Infinity Award from the International Centre of Photography, the Silver Lion at the Cannes Lions Festival for Advertising, and a Lucie Award from the United States for his whole oeuvre. In 2013 he won the commission to redesign the Dutch Euro coins, which have been in circulation since 2014. Olaf has screened video work at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, the Museum at FIT in New York, and at Nuit Blanche in Toronto with a live score commissioned for his series ‘Waiting’. He has also projected his 30 channel video installation ‘L’Éveil' onto the Hôtel de Ville for Nuit Blanche in Paris, curated by Jean de Loisy (Director, Palais de Tokyo). In March 2018 the Museu da Imagem e do Som in São Paulo hosted a retrospective of his work. In 2019 Shanghai Center of Photography (SCôP) will host a solo exhibition. The Gemeentemuseum The Hague and The Hague Museum of Photography will host an anniversary solo exhibition for Erwin Olaf his 60th birthday, and to celebrate 40 years of photography. In 2019 there will be a new retrospective monograph released, published by Hannibal, Aperture, Xavier Barral and Prestel. Erwin Olaf (born 1959, Hilversum, the Netherlands) lives and works in Amsterdam. Source: www.erwinolaf.com
Cao Luning
China
1990
Cao Luning is a street photographer who lives in Nanjing, Jiangsu Province, China, a city of 8 million people. He only started to do photography 3 years ago and all learnt by himself. For Cao Luning, photography is a means of getting to know and expressing himself. Just like the saying "You are what you read", he also believes "You are what you shoot". He's extremely crazy about Street, Travel and Documentary photography, and the uncertainty and infinite possibilities of them fascinate him. They are just similar to life, you never know what you are going to get tomorrow. You may capture some nice shots, or you might come back empty-handed. Street photographer is his identity. Cao Luning is a street wanderer and likes to watch people. He can linger on the streets all day long without feeling tired or fed up. When he shoots, he focuses on the serendipity of specific colors, light and shadows, gestures and the implied humor of scenes. Cao Luning reckons framing is crucial to a good photograph, and he's been greatly influenced by Henri Cartier-Bresson and his "The Decisive Moment Theory", which He thinks is something that every photographer should pay attention to. His mentors are Mangum Photographer Alex Webb and his wife Rebecca Norris Webb, and they both helped him a lot in developing his own vision. In his opinion, given different situations and scenarios, a good street photographer should swiftly apply different compositions that best suit the scenes, instead of using one or two methods for all situations, because that's not a creative process, it's just mechanical repetitions. Statement I'm a street photographer who started to do photography 3 years ago. For me, photography is a means of getting to know and expressing myself. Just like the saying "You are what you read", I also believe "You are what you shoot". I'm extremely crazy about Street, Travel and Documentary photography, and the uncertainty and infinite possibilities of them fascinate me. They are just similar to life, you never know what you are going to get tomorrow. You may capture many nice shots, or you might come back empty-handed. I'm a street wanderer and I like to watch people. I can linger on the streets all day long without feeling tired or fed up. When I shoot, I focus on the serendipity of specific colors, light and shadows, gestures and the implied humor of scenes. I reckon framing is crucial to a good photograph, and I've been greatly influenced by Henri Cartier-Bresson and his "The Decisive Moment Theory", which I think is something that every photographer should pay attention to. In my opinion, given different situations and scenarios, a good street photographer should swiftly apply different compositions that best suit the scenes, instead of using one or two methods for all situations, because that's not a creative process, it's just mechanical repetitions. Most of the works I submitted were shot during the pandemic in China.. On January 2020, The New Coronavirus Pneumonia (or COVID-19) outbroke in Wuhan, Hubei Province in China and soon spread all over the country. As a result, the Chinese government locked down the whole country, stopped all production activities, restricted intercity transportation, and people were advised not to go outside. I live in Nanjing, Jiangsu Province, a city of 8 million people, and when it was shut down, it was a bit like a ghost town in the beginning, not completely empty, but hard to find people on the streets. However, I found out by the Yangtze River and some parks, there are some citizens. People would go fishing, do sports, exercise or simply relax. So I often go to those places with my camera, trying to capture their life under the influence of Coronavirus. The virus has pressed the pause button for most of us, though it's not a good thing, objectively speaking, it gives us a good opportunity to look inside and review our living states. It offers us a window to slow down and appreciate all the good and beautiful things around us as well. In the meantime, we are also given the possibility to do the things that we always wanted to do. We should cherish it and live in the moment, despite how dreadful the epidemic situation might be, life has to go on. I hope you'll enjoy my works and get to know me better by them.
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