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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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Manuello Paganelli
Dominican Republic/United States
1960
I was born in the Dominican Republic and growing up in the 1960s I watched my parents devote time to help others, exposing me to the inequality of wealth, education, and the lack of mind and body wellness prevalent on our small island. It was hard for me to understand why poor children would be on the streets instead of in a warmer, safer place. I saw school-age boys like me but barefoot and shining the fancy shoes of businessmen. Scruffy kids with open hands asking for pennies. Running, begging for anything to eat, fending for themselves, and surviving on their wits alone. None of my parents' words made it better, or helped me understand what led to my country's socio-economic crisis. With my parents' humanistic influence, I figured I would become an attorney like my father or a missionary doctor. In 1972, I arrived in the US for high school without speaking any English. By my last year of college in Tennessee, I lost all desire to become a doctor, My father stopped supporting me. I found work on the assembly lines and loading docks of the local McKee Baking Company. In 1982 I bought my first camera as a way to forget my doomed career. While browsing in a bookstore I learned about a man named Ansel Adams. A few glances at Adams' powerful black-and-white landscapes left me hypnotized. Within days, I was on the telephone with Ansel. It was an innocent call but that first conversation with Ansel Adams led to many more, until we established a warm mentoring relationship that lasted until he passed away in 1984. My break into professional photography began when I was hired as a staff photographer for The Chattanooga Times in 1982. While that photojournalism experience was invaluable, I soon left for the Washington, DC area, where I began a freelance editorial photography career and from there migrated into humanistic photography. In 1989, I began traveling to Cuba to find long-lost relatives. There I learned about the social issues of the island and the survival spirit of the Cuban people, becoming increasingly aware of the socio-political climate I continued to travel there. My documentary photos from my Cuban project culminated in an exhibition in 1995, where a Washington Post columnist wrote: "Paganelli's Cuban photographs are a brilliant window on a land and people too long hidden from North American eyes... Paganelli brings an artist's eyes and a native son's sensibility to his superb photographs." My current essay project, which started in 1994, explores Black Cowboys across the USA, examining cultural and regional influences within this well developed sub-culture. Statement I never planned on becoming a professional photographer. I always thought I'd be a doctor, but during my senior year in college I began to have doubts about a career in medicine. It was around that time that I bought a Canon camera. Despite years in the business, I still possess that same excitement for the craft that gripped me the first time I picked up a camera. And, too, I maintain a passion for sharing my subjects' stories through documentary photography. My influences are the things that my eyes capture from the moment I get up, see, sense and experience and everything else beyond that with the elements of sounds , shadows and light. But I've always admired the work of Walker Evans, Henry Cartier Bresson and most notably the works of W.Eugene Smith and Robert Frank. I also love the landscape of Ansel Adams and the beautiful magical touches of the portraits done by Irving Penn.
Deb Achak
United States
Raised in New Hampshire, Deb Achak holds a master's degree in social work and is a self-trained photographer and filmmaker. She lives in Seattle, WA with her husband and sons in a grand old home that was once a bed and breakfast. Deb's fine art photography explores natural elements of water and grasses - earth elements with clean, simple compositions meant to calm and soothe. Her children are also a growing subject of her fine art work. Her photographs have been exhibited at the Black Box Gallery, Portland, OR; Sante Fe Photographic Workshops, Sante Fe, NM; the SE Center for Photography, Greenville, SC: and Vermont Center for Photography, Brattleboro, VT. About She Told Us To Trust Our Intuition My mother's last words to my siblings and I before she died were "trust your gut instincts". It's struck me over the years how profound and revolutionary that one simple phrase is. It has become my mantra - my north star. When we still our mind, free it of conscious thought, intuition can be heard and felt, and becomes the perfect guide. Some years ago, I started to notice that when I am in a deep flow with my art, it becomes a meditation and I am able to hear my inner voice with complete clarity. In this series I use water, color, movement and the human form to express the meditative quality I feel when I am in synch with the flow of creating. I seek to capture that single moment where my camera, my intuition, and the natural world are perfectly aligned, and to give gratitude to my mother for bestowing such a powerful parting gift.
Rory Doyle
United States
1983
Rory Doyle is a working photographer based in Cleveland, Mississippi in the rural Mississippi Delta. Born and raised in Maine, Doyle studied journalism at St. Michael's College in Colchester, Vermont. In 2009, he moved to the Mississippi Delta to pursue a master's in education at Delta State University in Cleveland. He has remained committed to photographing the Delta, with a particular focus on sharing stories of overlooked subcultures. He was a 2018 Mississippi Visual Artist Fellow through the Mississippi Arts Commission and National Endowment for the Arts for his ongoing project about African American cowboys and cowgirls, "Delta Hill Riders." Doyle won the 16th Annual Smithsonian Photo Contest, the 2019 Southern Prize from the South Arts organization, the 2019 Zeiss Photography Award, the 2019 ZEKE Award for Documentary Photography, and the 2019 Michael P. Smith Award for Documentary Photography from the New Orleans Photo Alliance. He has had solo exhibitions in New York City, London, Atlanta and Mississippi. Doyle's work has been published in The New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic, The Guardian and CNN. Delta Hill Riders Historians agree that just after the Civil War, one in four cowboys were African American. Yet this population was drastically underrepresented in popular accounts, and it is still. The "cowboy" identity retains a strong presence in many contemporary black communities. This ongoing documentary project in the Mississippi Delta sheds light on an overlooked African American subculture - one that resists historical and contemporary stereotypes. The project began January 2017 when I attended a black heritage rodeo in Greenville, Mississippi. The body of work reveals how deep and diverse this community is. I've been invited to black heritage rodeos, horse shows, trail rides, "Cowboy Nights" at black nightclubs across the Delta, and to subjects' homes across the region. The project aims to press against my own old archetypes - who could and could not be a cowboy, and what it means to be black in Mississippi - while uplifting the voices of my subjects.
Philip Jones Griffiths
Wales
1936 | † 2008
Born in Rhuddlan, Wales, Philip Jones Griffiths studied pharmacy in Liverpool and worked in London while photographing part-time for the Manchester Guardian. In 1961 he became a full-time freelancer for the London-based Observer. He covered the Algerian War in 1962, then moved to Central Africa. From there he moved to Asia, photographing in Vietnam from 1966 to 1971. His book on the war, Vietnam Inc., crystallized public opinion and gave form to Western misgivings about American involvement in Vietnam. One of the most detailed surveys of any conflict, Vietnam Inc. is also an in-depth document of Vietnamese culture under attack. An associate member of Magnum since 1966, Griffiths became a member in 1971. In 1973 he covered the Yom Kippur War and then worked in Cambodia between 1973 and 1975. In 1977 he covered Asia from his base in Thailand. In 1980 Griffiths moved to New York to assume the presidency of Magnum, a post he held for a record five years. Griffiths' assignments, often self-engineered, took him to more than 120 countries. He continued to work for major publications such as Life and Geo on stories such as Buddhism in Cambodia, droughts in India, poverty in Texas, the re-greening of Vietnam, and the legacy of the Gulf War in Kuwait. His continued revisiting of Vietnam, examining the legacy of the war, lead to his two further books ‘Agent Orange’ and ‘Vietnam at Peace’. Griffiths' work reflects on the unequal relationship between technology and humanity, summed up in his book Dark Odyssey. Human foolishness always attracted Griffiths' eye, but, faithful to the ethics of the Magnum founders, he believed in human dignity and in the capacity for improvement. Philip Jones Griffiths died at home in West London on 19th March 2008From en.wikipedia.orgJones Griffiths was born in Rhuddlan, to Joseph Griffiths, who supervised the local trucking service of the London, Midland and Scottish Railway, and Catherine Jones, Rhuddlan's district nurse, who ran a small maternity clinic at home. He studied pharmacy in Liverpool and worked in London as the night manager at the Piccadilly branch of Boots, while also working as a part-time photographer for the Manchester Guardian. His first photograph was of a friend, taken with the family Brownie in a rowboat off Holyhead. Jones Griffiths never married, saying it was a "bourgeois" notion, but that he had had "significant" relationships. Survived by Fanella Ferrato and Katherine Holden, his daughters from long-term relationships with Donna Ferrato and Heather Holden. He died from cancer on March 19, 2008. Journalist John Pilger wrote in tribute to Griffiths soon after his death: "I never met a foreigner who cared as wisely for the Vietnamese, or about ordinary people everywhere under the heel of great power, as Philip Jones Griffiths. He was the greatest photographer and one of the finest journalists of my lifetime, and a humanitarian to match…. His photographs of ordinary people, from his beloved Wales to Vietnam and the shadows of Cambodia, make you realise who the true heroes are. He was one of them." Griffiths started work as a full-time freelance photographer in 1961 for the Observer, travelling to Algeria in 1962. He arrived in Vietnam in 1966, working for the Magnum agency. Magnum found his images difficult to sell to American magazines, as they concentrated on the suffering of the Vietnamese people and reflected his view of the war as an episode in the continuing decolonisation of former European possessions. However, he was eventually able to get a scoop that the American outlets liked: photographs of Jackie Kennedy vacationing with a male friend in Cambodia. The proceeds from these photos enabled him to continue his coverage of Vietnam and to publish Vietnam Inc. in 1971. Vietnam Inc. had a major influence on American perceptions of the war, and became a classic of photojournalism. The book was the result of Griffiths' three years work in the country and it stands as one of the most detailed surveys of any conflict, including descriptions of the horrors of the war as well as a study of Vietnamese rural life and views from serving American soldiers. Probably one of its most quoted passages is of a US army source discussing napalm: ‘We sure are pleased with those backroom boys at Dow. The original product wasn’t so hot - if the gooks were quick they could scrape it off. So the boys started adding polystyrene - now it sticks like shit to a blanket. But if the gooks jumped under water it stopped burning, so they started adding Willie Peter (white phosphorus) so’s to make it burn better. And just one drop is enough, it’ll keep on burning right down to the bone so they die anyway from phosphorus poisoning.’ The South Vietnamese president, Nguyen Van Thieu, criticized Griffiths' work, remarking "Let me tell you there are many people I don't want back in my country, but I can assure you Mr. Griffiths name is at the top of the list." In 1973, Griffiths covered the Yom Kippur War. He then worked in Cambodia from 1973 to 1975. In 1980, he became the president of Magnum, a position he then held for five years. In 2001 Vietnam Inc. was reprinted with a foreword by Noam Chomsky. Subsequent books have included Dark Odyssey, a collection of his best pictures, and Agent Orange, dealing with the impact of the US defoliant Agent Orange on postwar generations in Vietnam. After becoming aware of his terminal condition, Jones Griffiths launched a foundation to preserve his archives. His daughters helm the foundation, which as of July 2008 lacked a permanent home. Source: www.magnumphotos.com
Iris Brito Stevens
United States
I was born and raised in Salinas, California (U.S.), a farming community known for its lettuce. As a daughter of Mexican immigrants, I became aware of, and sensitive to, the differences between the immigrant and non-immigrant communities and their perspectives, which at times felt narrow and somewhat limiting. Growing up surrounded by family grounded me deeply, yet an insatiable curiosity and passion for learning about the world beyond me, called out. I spread my wings and traveled to destinations that were completely foreign, often under the auspices of humanitarian and educational endeavors. The lens through which I saw the world opened-up and expanded my perspective, just like a camera. Through first-hand experience, I became aware of the lives and conditions of marginalized and oppressed peoples globally. This new dimensionality helped me to confront certain realities, to grow, and to self-reflect on what it means to be human. It also led me toward activism and social documentary photography, which enabled me to blend visual narrative with the stories of other people through projects or partnerships in Uganda, the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Spain, San Francisco and more. My photographic work is my passion, and it serves to create awareness and a more intimate human connection, by encouraging a path that looks beyond our limited and inherent perceptions and conditioning. Statement In America, we place so much value on individuality and independence, that we forget how truly interdependent we are on one another, both on a local and global scale. We have become hyper-focused on the self and are losing our ability to empathize and see the intense vulnerability around us—though considering recent events, this appears to be shifting. As a social documentary photographer, I am drawn towards people and the conditions that are relevant in their lives, as individuals and as members of a family, community, or society. Our perception of the world can be limited to our own multi-faceted forms of conditioning; I utilize the impact of visual narrative to bring awareness of the human condition worldwide. There is so much beauty in diversity. I want to validate that diversity through photography, to help others grow in that appreciation, to demonstrate that we are all a part of something collectively - that life's experience doesn't begin and end with us, as individuals. Dominance consciousness is so pervasive in society; it's like a box with thick walls and nothing to see, nowhere to go, devoid of any inspiration. It kills curiosity and ideas. I want us all to be inspired and curious by the diversity we see and experience in everyday life. Diversity is beautiful.
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