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Ron Cooper
Ron Cooper
Ron Cooper

Ron Cooper

Country: United States

I am a travel, documentary and portrait photographer based in Denver, CO. I began exploring photography ten years ago after retiring early from a corporate career. I travel extensively in pursuit of images that reflect local cultures and people. My emphasis in recent years has been on portraiture with the objective of “introducing” viewers to the people I meet and photograph at home and around the world.

My work has been exhibited in juried group shows at Colorado Photographic Art Center (Denver, CO), Center for Fine Art Photography (Ft. Collins, CO), Southeast Center for Photography (Greenville, SC), Naples (FL) Art Association, PhotoPlace Gallery (Middlebury, VT), ACCI (Berkeley, CA), A. Smith Gallery (Johnson City, TX), Blackbox Gallery (Portland, OR), Click! Photography Festival (Raleigh/Durham, NC), Midwest Center for Photography (Wichita, KS). Solo exhibitions include: Asian Journeys (2016) at Gallery MFC, Denver, CO; Faces (2016) at the Hamilton Family Gallery, Children's Hospital of Colorado, Aurora, CO; Faces of the American West (2016) at The Darkroom, Longmont, Colorado; and Pleased to Meet You: Portraits from Places Near & Far (2018) at Gallery MFC, Denver, CO; and Keepers of Tradition (2019) at Robert Anderson Gallery, Denver, CO.

My photographs have been published in Black & White Magazine, Monovisions Magazine, AAP Magazine, PDN, New Mexico Magazine and Photographer's Forum.

My portraits celebrate humankind.

I've been privileged to meet and photograph people in may different places - across five continents, diverse geographies, cultures and ways of life. My objective is to make interesting, accessible and compelling images that tell a story or convey a sense of place and personality.

As a matter of respect and courtesy, I always engage with my subjects, asking permission to make their portrait. My request is sometimes met with skepticism. Occasionally I'm turned down. More often, however, my approach results in a conversation - sometimes quite brief, and often through sign language or a translator. That conversation - whatever it's form - yields a connection that I hope is reflected in the final image.

I favor simple compositions - straightforward and tightly framed. This approach directs the viewer's attention to the subject's eyes. In most of my images the individuals are looking directly at the camera and, by extension, at us. This approach feels honest and straightforward.

The great majority of my portraits are made in natural surroundings with available light. No studio, no strobes. This approach is less intimidating and less formal. It improves the chances of capturing a genuine portrait, an unguarded moment that reveals something of the person behind the photograph.

My portraits document the amazing diversity in appearance, lifestyle and circumstances of the people I meet in my travels. At the same time, I hope the message that stays with the viewer is, despite our many superficial differences, our shared humanness connects all of us in the human tapestry.
 

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Ralph Steiner
United States
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Ralph Steiner was an American photographer, pioneer documentarian and a key figure among avant-garde filmmakers in the 1930s. Born in Cleveland, Steiner studied chemistry at Dartmouth, but in 1921 entered the Clarence H. White School of Modern Photography. White helped Steiner in finding a job at the Manhattan Photogravure Company, and Steiner worked on making photogravure plates of scenes from Robert Flaherty's 1922 Nanook of the North. Not long after, Steiner's work as a freelance photographer in New York began, working mostly in advertising and for publications like Ladies' Home Journal. With fellow graduate Anton Bruehl (1900–1982), in 1925, they opened a studio on 47th Street, producing a narrative series of amusing table-top shots of three cut‑out figures dressed in suits for The New Yorker magazine; advertisements for Weber and Heilbroner menswear in a running weekly series. Their client was wiped out in the Wall Street Crash. Through the encouragement of fellow photographer Paul Strand, Steiner joined the left-of-center Film and Photo League around 1927. He was also to influence the photography of Walker Evans, giving him guidance, technical assistance, and one of his view cameras. Steiner's still photographs are notable for their odd angles, abstraction and sometimes bizarre subject matter; the 1944 image Gypsy Rose Lee and Her Girls is sometimes mistaken for Weegee. His experimental films, however, are considered central to the literature of early American avant-garde cinema, and the influence of Ralph Steiner's visual style continues to assert itself; for example, contemporary avant-garde filmmaker Timoleon Wilkins cites Steiner as an inspiration. In his appreciation of Steiner, author Scott McDonald expands that list to include Dorsky, Andrew Noren, Larry Gottheim and Peter Hutton. The links between the first generation of American avant-garde filmmakers such as Steiner with the second – exemplified by Maya Deren, Stan Brakhage and others – are few, but Steiner is among those who managed to bridge the gap.Source: Wikipedia At the end of the 1960s Steiner relocated to Vermont. After making three more films he devoted himself to photographing clouds for nearly twenty years, primarily on the coast of Maine and in Oaxaca, Mexico. Clouds have been of longstanding interest to painters throughout the history of art. In photography, the subject is often associated with Alfred Stieglitz, who made photographs of clouds entitled Equivalents, believing them to appeal directly to the subconscious mind. Steiner similarly saw the evocative potential in cloud formations, although he felt the meaning of any given image was far more mercurial than his predecessor. Leaving his works deliberately untitled, he invites viewers to use their imaginations and provide their own titles, which, in his estimation, becomes a process of testing out different descriptions and metaphors. In 1985, shortly before his death, Steiner published a book of these studies, In Pursuit of Clouds.Source: MoCP
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