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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.
 

Inspiring Portfolios

 
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Martin Munkácsi
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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)
Alicia Moneva
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Little by little I found comfortable with the photographic image and the human figure to express the ideas that were emerging. I went through a very unproductive at work time, since I opposed the painting to photography, when they were actually for me very complementary. At this time that seemed to lost went back to College, first studying psychology and later philosophy. None of the two races ended them, as it was not so important to have an academic degree, but if you continue learning, similar of being alive. My exhibitions were photography, although in principle and respect for the world of photography, I thought that I was an intruder, had the desire and the security to do so, also the need.Self-portrait I submit for publication to reflect a state of confusion we all, from time to time we have suffered, when a mesh does not let you see clearly the reality. 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García De Marina
Born in Spain in 1975. Since the year 2012 uses the object like expression way. This Poet of the Prosaic made the leap from social networking to the galleries in a few months' time. His creativity has not gone unnoticed in Spain as well as the foreign media, having his work published in several countries in the world. He has made a number of individual exhibitions and taken part in different collective exhibits, in addition to diverse art fairs. His lens is profoundly irreverent with the real: it seeks to transform and stamp objects with new identities; it challenges the obvious, and pays heed to the grandeur of the everyday. The bareness of his photography endows objects with a leading role, while they are stripped of their essence to be reinvented. The artist does not carry out any photographic manipulation on the images. From the minimalist perspective, the inventiveness of his gaze lays claim to another reality. In 2015 the artist was one of the chosen ones, by the Spanish Embassy, to participate in the "Photo Week Washington D.C.". In 2017, the Contemporary Art Museum of Castilla León in Spain (MUSAC) selected three of his pieces for the "Constellations" exhibition, experimental poetry in Spain (1963-2016), where for the first time, the presence of visual and experimental poetry in Spain from the 1960s to the present is addressed. During last years the artist has participated in some Festivals of photography, in Spain and abroad as Photo Week D.C. in Washington (2015), Photo Romania Festival (2015), Photometria Festival in Greece (2016), Festival of the light in Argentina (2016), Bucharest Foto Week (2016), Addis Foto Fest in Ethiopia (2016), Uppsala Foto Festival in Sweden (2017) and Yangon Photo Festival in Myanmar (2018). In 2018 presented his exhibition "Diálo2" in the Barjola's Museum in Spain together with one the most important visual poets of the 20th century in Spain, Joan Brossa."
Pierre Verger
France
1902 | † 1996
Pierre Edouard Leopold Verger, alias Fatumbi or Fátúmbí was a photographer, self-taught ethnographer, and babalawo (Yoruba priest of Ifa) who devoted most of his life to the study of the African diaspora - the slave trade, the African-based religions of the new world, and the resulting cultural and economical flows from and to Africa. At the age of 30, after losing his family, Pierre Verger took up the career of journalistic photographer. Over the next 15 years, he traveled the four continents, documenting many civilizations that would soon be effaced by progress. His destinations included Tahiti (1933); United States, Japan, and China (1934 and 1937); Italy, Spain, Sudan (now Mali), Niger, Upper Volta, Togo and Dahomey (now Benin, 1935); the West Indies (1936); Mexico (1937, 1939, and 1957); the Philippines and Indochina (now Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam, 1938); Guatemala and Ecuador (1939); Senegal (as a conscript, 1940); Argentina (1941), Peru and Bolivia (1942 and 1946); and finally Brazil (1946). His photographs were featured in magazines such as Paris-Soir, Daily Mirror (under the pseudonym of Mr. Lensman), Life, and Paris Match. In the city of Salvador, Brazil he fell in love with the place and people, and decided to stay for good. Having become interested in the local history and culture, he turned from errant photographer to a researcher of the African diaspora in the Americas. His subsequent voyages are focused on that goal: the west coast of Africa and Paramaribo (1948), Haiti (1949), and Cuba (1957). After studying the Yoruba culture and its influences in Brazil, Verger became an initiated of the Candomblé religion, and officiated at its rituals. During a visit to Benin, he was initiated into Ifá (cowrie-shell divination), became a babalawo (priest) of Orunmila, and was renamed Fátúmbí ("he who is reborn through the Ifá"). Veger's contributions to ethnography are embodied in dozens of conference papers, journal articles and books and were recognized by Sorbonne University, which conferred upon him a doctoral degree (Docteur 3eme Cycle) in 1966 — quite a feat for someone who dropped out of high school at 17. Verger continued to study and document his chosen subject right until his death in Salvador, at the age of 94. During that time he became a professor at the Federal University of Bahia in 1973, where he was responsible for the establishment of the Afro-Brazilian Museum in Salvador; and served as visiting professor at the University of Ifé in Nigeria. The non-profit Pierre Verger Foundation in Salvador, which he established to continue his work, holds more than 63,000 photos and negatives taken until 1973, as well as his papers and correspondence. Source: Wikipedia
Nick Brandt
United Kingdom
1964
Nick Brandt is a photographer who photographs exclusively in Africa, one of his goals being to record a last testament to the wild animals and places there before they are destroyed by the hands of man. Born in 1966 and raised in London, England, Brandt studied Painting, and then Film at Saint Martin's School of Art. He moved to the United States in 1992 and directed many award-winning music videos for the likes of Michael Jackson (Earth Song, Stranger in Moscow, Cry), Moby, Jewel (singer), XTC, Badly Drawn Boy). It was while directing "Earth Song", a music video for Jackson in Tanzania, in 1995 that Brandt fell in love with the animals and land of East Africa. Over the next few years, frustrated that he could not capture on film his feelings about and love for animals, he realized there was a way to achieve this through photography, in a way that he felt no-one had really done before. In 2000, Brandt embarked upon his ambitious photographic project: a trilogy of books to memorialize the vanishing natural grandeur of East Africa. His photography bears little relation to the color documentary-style wildlife photography that is the norm. He photographs on medium-format black and white film without telephoto or zoom lenses. (He uses a Pentax 67II with only two fixed lenses.) His work is a combination of epic panoramas of animals within dramatic landscapes (for example, Hippos on the Mara River, Masai Mara, 2006; Cheetah & Cubs Lying on Rock, Serengeti 2007), and graphic portraits more akin to studio portraiture of human subjects from the early 20th Century, as if these animals were already long dead (Elephant Drinking, Amboseli, 2007) Brandt does not use telephoto lenses because he believes that being close to the animals make a huge difference in his ability to reveal their personality. He writes: "You wouldn't take a portrait of a human being from a hundred feet away and expect to capture their spirit; you'd move in close." As American photography critic Vicki Goldberg writes: "Many pictures convey a rare sense of intimacy, as if Brandt knew the animals, had invited them to sit for his camera, and had a prime portraitist's intuition of character...as elegant as any arranged by Arnold Newman for his human high achievers." Photographs like (Cheetah & Cubs, Masai Mara, 2003; Lion Before Storm - Sitting Profile,Masai Mara 2006) are good examples of this. In his afterword in On This Earth, Brandt explains the reasons for the methods he uses: "I'm not interested in creating work that is simply documentary or filled with action and drama, which has been the norm in the photography of animals in the wild. What I am interested in is showing the animals simply in the state of Being. In the state of Being before they are no longer are. Before, in the wild at least, they cease to exist. This world is under terrible threat, all of it caused by us. To me, every creature, human or nonhuman, has an equal right to live, and this feeling, this belief that every animal and I are equal, affects me every time I frame an animal in my camera. The photos are my elegy to these beautiful creatures, to this wrenchingly beautiful world that is steadily, tragically vanishing before our eyes." On this Earth: The first book in the trilogy, On This Earth (Chronicle Books, 2005) constitutes 66 photos taken 2000-2004, with introductions by the conservationist and primatologist Jane Goodall and the author Alice Sebold. The photographs in this book are a unadulterated vision of an African paradise, deliberately contrasting with what is to follow in the subsequent books. Elephant with Exploding Dust, Amboseli 2004, the photo on the book's cover, has since become one of Brandt's best-known images. Critical response to the book, heralded Brandt's photographic achievement. Black and White magazine called his photos "heartbreakingly beautiful". A Shadow Falls: The second book in the trilogy, A Shadow Falls, (Abrams, 2009) features 58 photographs taken 2005-2008. It is generally regarded to be superior to "On This Earth". In additional introductions, philosopher Peter Singer, author of the groundbreaking Animal Liberation, explains why Brandt's photographs speak to an increasing human moral conscience about our treatment of animals. The photography critic Vicki Goldberg places Brandt's work in the history of the medium. As the title of the book implies, this book, although replete with images of ethereal beauty and poetry, is a more melancholic interpretation of the world he photographs. Indeed, critic Vicki Goldberg writes: " A Shadow Falls, taken in its entirely, is a love story without a happily ever after." The photos in the book are deliberately sequenced: the opening images are of an unspoiled lush green world, filled with animals and water ("Wildebeest Arc, Masai Mara 2006" ). As the book progresses, the photos become gradually more stark, until towards the end, the trees are dead, the water gone, the animals are vastly reduced in numbers, until the book closes with the final ambiguous image, of a lone, abandoned ostrich egg on a parched lake bed. "Abandoned Ostrich Egg, Amboseli 2007". In addition the Artist's Edition book, entitled, On this Earth, a Shadow Falls, (Abrams Books/Big Life Editions) was published in 2010, combining the best 90 photos from the first two books, in a larger volume with much superior printing to the first two books. Across The Ravaged Land: The completion of Nick Brandt’s trilogy: “On This Earth, A Shadow Falls, Across The Ravaged Land.” Release date, September 3, 2013 (Abrams Books, 2013), documents the disappearing natural world and animals of East Africa. This is the third and final volume of Nick Brandt's work which reveals the darker side of his vision of East Africa’s animal kingdom and the juxtaposition of mankind. The trilogy marks the last decade of a stunning world of the beauty of East Africa’s Serengeti, Marsai Mara, Amboseli, and ends with a dark and well-known unhappy ending. “Across The Ravaged Land” introduces humans in his photography for the first time exhibiting the cost of poachers, killing for profit. One such example is Ranger with Tusks of Killed Elephant, Amboseli 2011. This photograph features one of the rangers employed by Big Life Foundation, the Foundation that Nick Brandt started in 2010. The ranger holds the tusks of an elephant killed by poachers in the years prior to the Foundation's inception. Brandt captures the trophies in these epic landscapes and the images of perfectly preserved creatures calcified by the salts of the Rift Valley soda lake. In both instances, the creatures appear in an ethereal animated state seemingly posing for their portraits. Big Life Foundation: In September 2010, in urgent response to the escalation of poaching in Africa due to increased demand from the Far East, Nick Brandt founded the non-profit organization called Big Life Foundation, dedicated to the conservation of Africa's wildlife and ecosystems. With one of the most spectacular elephant populations in Africa being rapidly diminished by poachers, the Amboseli ecosystem, which straddles both Kenya and Tanzania, became the Foundation's large-scale pilot project. Headed up in Kenya by renowned conservationist Richard Bonham, multiple fully equipped teams of anti-poaching rangers have been placed in newly built outposts in the critical areas throughout the 2-million-acre (8,100 km2) + area, resulting in a dramatically reduced incidence of killing and poaching of wildlife in the ecosystem. Source: Wikipedia Discover Nick Brandt's Interview about Inherit the Dust
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