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Steve McCurry
France, 2012 Photo by © Bruno Barbey
Steve McCurry
Steve McCurry

Steve McCurry

Country: United States
Birth: 1950

Steve McCurry has been one of the most iconic voices in contemporary photography for more than 30 years, with scores of magazine and book covers, over a dozen books, and countless exhibitions around the world to his name.

Born in a suburb of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; McCurry studied film at Pennsylvania State University, before going on to work for a local newspaper. After several years of freelance work, McCurry made his first of what would become many trips to India. Traveling with little more than a bag of clothes and another of film, he made his way across the subcontinent, exploring the country with his camera.

It was after several months of travel that he found himself crossing the border into Pakistan. There, he met a group of refugees from Afghanistan, who smuggled him across the border into their country, just as the Russian Invasion was closing the country to all western journalists. Emerging in traditional dress, with full beard and weather-worn features after weeks embedded with the Mujahedeen, McCurry brought the world the first images of the conflict in Afghanistan, putting a human face to the issue on every masthead.

Since then, McCurry has gone on to create stunning images on all seven continents and countless countries. His work spans conflicts, vanishing cultures, ancient traditions and contemporary culture alike - yet always retains the human element that made his celebrated image of the Afghan Girl such a powerful image.

McCurry has been recognized with some of the most prestigious awards in the industry, including the Robert Capa Gold Medal, National Press Photographers Award, and an unprecedented four first prize awards from the World Press Photo contest. The Minister of French Culture has also appointed McCurry a Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters and most recently, the Royal Photographic Society in London awarded McCurry the Centenary Medal for Lifetime Achievement.

McCurry has published books including The Imperial Way (1985), Monsoon (1988), Portraits (1999), South Southeast (2000), Sanctuary (2002), The Path to Buddha: A Tibetan Pilgrimage (2003), Steve McCurry (2005), Looking East (2006), In the Shadow of Mountains (2007), The Unguarded Moment, (2009), The Iconic Photographs (2011), Untold: The Stories Behind the Photographs (2013), From These Hands: A Journey Along the Coffee Trail (2015), India (2015), and On Reading (2016), Afghanistan (2017), A Life in Pictures (2018), Animals (2019).

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More Great Photographers To Discover

Réhahn
France
1979
Referred to as someone who "captures the souls of his models", (Wanderlust Travel Magazine, 2018) Réhahn is more than just a man behind a camera. Behind each click is a story. Whether the photograph shows a child with startling blue eyes, a woman pulling a needle through indigo fabric or a man walking alone down a brightly painted street, these are more than just images to Réhahn. They are the culmination of an experience. The stories of his subjects as well as his passion to learn more about their culture, diversity and changing traditions are what drives Réhahn's work. Réhahn's unique combination of fine art photography and documentary styles results in images that both inform and mesmerize. His portraits of Vietnam, Cuba, and India are particularly well-known for exactly this reason. They take the viewer along on the voyage to catch a glimpse of authentic interactions with people, their smiles, their wisdom, their daily lives. For Réhahn, photography is a way to approach people, to document what is happening in the present while also learning about the traditions and heritage of their past. Réhahn visited over 35 countries before making Hoi An, Vietnam his home in 2011. His first book "Vietnam, Mosaic of Contrasts” has been a bestseller since 2014. He followed this success with four subsequent books: “Vietnam, Mosaic of Contrasts, Volume ll” in 2015; “The Collection, Réhahn - 10 Years of Photography” in 2017; “100 Iconic Portraits” in 2019; and “Vietnam Mosaic of Contrasts, Volume III” in 2020. In 2016, for International Women's day, Réhahn's portrait of Madam Xong was placed in the permanent collection at the Hanoi Women's museum. The resulting media coverage amassed more than 80 articles and 10 television interviews. Now just over two years later, Réhahn has been featured in international media totalling more than 500 articles and interviews and over 50 television appearances. One memorable career moment took place in 2018. Réhahn was honored during an official ceremony, which was organized to celebrate 45 years of friendship between France and Vietnam. Vietnam's Secretary of the Party, Nguyen Phu Trong, who has since become the President of Vietnam, gifted Réhahn's portrait "Madam Xong" to French President Emmanuel Macron. In addition to his four COULEURS BY RÉHAHN galleries, Réhahn opened the PRECIOUS HERITAGE museum located in the UNESCO World Heritage site of Hoi An ancient town in 2017 to showcase his portraits of Vietnam's diverse ethnic groups, their traditional costumes, stories, music, and artifacts. The museum is free to the public.
Harry Benson
Scotland
1929
Scottish born photojournalist Harry Benson arrived in America with the Beatles in 1964. Harry has photographed every U.S. president from Eisenhower to Barack H. Obama; was just feet away from Bobby Kennedy the night he was assassinated; in the room with Richard Nixon when he resigned; on the Meredith march with Martin Luther King, Jr., next to Coretta Scott King at her husband's funeral; on maneuvers with the IRA; was there when the Berlin Wall went up and when it came down; and covered the aftermath of Katrina in New Orleans. In 2013 Harry received an Honorary Doctor of Letters from The University of St. Andrews, Scotland. On January 1, 2009, Harry was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and received his honor at Buckingham Palace in March. In London in November 2009 Harry received an Honorary Fellowship in the Royal Photographic Society. Harry was honored with a Doctor of Letters from the Glasgow School of Art and Glasgow University in 2007. Twice named NPPA Magazine Photographer of the Year, Harry received the 2005 LUCIE Award for Lifetime Achievement in Portrait Photography; the 2005 AMERICAN PHOTO Magazine Award for Achievement in Photography; the 2006 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Scottish Press Photographers Association; and has twice received the Leica Medal of Excellence. He has had 40 gallery solo exhibitions and fourteen books of his photographs have been published. His photographs are in the permanent collection of the Scottish National Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh, and the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC, both museums hosted his Harry Benson: Being There exhibition (2006-7). A major retrospective exhibition of Harry's photographs was at Kelvingrove Museum in Glasgow from June to September, 2008. Harry was under contract to LIFE Magazine from 1970 to 2000. His photographs appear in major magazines including Vanity Fair, Town & Country, Architectural Digest, Time, Newsweek, Vice, Paris Match, and The London Sunday Times Magazine. Harry lives in Wellington, Florida with his wife, Gigi, who works with him on his book and exhibit
Luigi Avantaggiato
Born in Zurich in 1984, Luigi Avantaggiato is a Rome based freelance photographer specialized in documentary, editorial, and cross-media project. He started working as a documentary photographer after his doctoral studies in Visual Studies, which helped him to develop a profound interest in global social and environmental issues. Because of his work he has visited several countries in the world in state of emergency: Lebanon, Iraq, Colombia, Greece, Kosovo. His images have been published in several newspapers and magazines, such as Il Corriere della Sera, D di Repubblica, Panorama, VICE, Lensculture and others. His works took part in several international exhibitions, such as Photomed Festival (Sanary-sur-Mer, 2017), FotoGrafia – International Festival of Photography of Rome XI ed. (Rome, 2012), Fotografia Europea (Reggio Emilia, 2014), Juraplaz (Bienne, 2014) Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana (Firenze, 2015) and others. He teaches at Sapienza – University of Rome and in several private academies. He is author of book essays and papers about photography, cinema and visual arts.About Dove tramonta l’Occidente (Where the West Sets) In the past few years, international governments, institutions, and media have used the expression “refugee crisis” to describe rising numbers of undocumented individuals and families fleeing to Europe from countries such as Syria, Afghanistan, and Iraq, where they face harsh challenges, including war, poverty, persecution, and human rights violations. Hoping to start a new life in Europe and looking for a new identity, thousands of refugees have braved the Mediterranean Sea on board of inflatable boats and makeshift vessels, driven by an idea of Europe as the land where their dreams will be realized. Some of these people decide to cross the sea illegally only to become refugees and to enjoy the benefits of this status. Where the West Sets is a documentary project that attempts to chronicle this crisis as it plays out on the northern Aegean Islands and in mainland Greece – the same territories where Western Culture and its system of values were born. The aesthetics of my work lies on an approach that had me go to those places not as a reporter looking for facts but as a documentarist trying to verify facts. The series of photographs reflects the consequences that the refugee crisis is having on the cradle of civilization, whereas the traditional value of respecting other human beings is meeting feelings of hostility, fear, and xenophobia among the Greeks. In the same country that gave birth to philosophy, science and anthropology, people are living among refugees in an uncertain and disordered way, holding tightly to their self- referential and contradictory values, belonging to a Europe that is now diminished but that is frantically trying to redefine its own identity.
Jim Ferguson
United States
1954
Recently I "remerged" back into the fine art photography world, but this is my second round of showing and selling work. Years back I received a BFA from San Francisco Art Institute and MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. After getting my BFA, I started contacting galleries. I was successful from the very start with three galleries representing my work and acquisitions by major museums and numerous private collections. In the fall of 2017 I re-emerged into the fine art world full time, introducing my work again to galleries and museums. Since "reemerging" I’ve had a number of successes. I was in an exhibition at Catherine Edelman Gallery and am represented in their Chicago Project. I’ve been included in exhibitions curated by April Watson, Elizabeth Houston, Douglas Beasley and Robert Klein. I’ve also had a One Person exhibition at Workspace Gallery, and was selected for the Top 200 in Critical Mass 2018. Wide Range Statement Traveling through the Southwest for the first time I was photographically hot. My imagery gelled into the beginning of a body of work. This first trip was truly life changing. The Southwest appealed to me so much that I moved to Albuquerque. It served as home base for travels in the West; thus beginning my Wide Range series. I call this series Wide Range because of the open range nature of the American West and the wide variety of subjects I choose to photograph. Man's isolated impacts on the environment stood out more in the broad expanses of the landscape. I sought not to highlight the negative impacts but to utilize the man-made objects to create my images. The juxtaposition of these man-made objects vs. dramatic backgrounds allowed me to visually compact space into layered unity. This series began the visual journey I've traveled with my photography. Unfamiliar Places Statement Unfamiliar Places is a body of autobiographical memories that have been altered by the passage of time rather than by a proactive chemical or digital process. The images were stored on undeveloped film for 20 years, resulting in the degradation of the "latent" image. This work reflect the serendipity that is unique to working with the analogue process and highlights its inherent materiality. The unique process of the degradation of the film over 20 years mirror the historical content of the images. The images are a result of my photographic journey, the degradation of the emulsion in the negatives and the layering of history with the film wrapper's film numbers and dots. They were taken in France Mexico and the U.S. Over the past two decades I continued to photograph, standing guard against the instinct for gratification and instead allowing the pictures to rest peacefully in a dark place. It is now thrilling to finally see that the choice to wait offers its rewards: here are the both subtle diminishments and vital revelations in the aging process. Time has left marks on these images just as the events of a life do.
Gordon Parks
United States
1912 | † 2006
Gordon Roger Alexander Buchanan Parks (November 30, 1912 – March 7, 2006) was an American photographer, musician, writer and film director. He is best remembered for his photographic essays for Life magazine and as the director of the 1971 film, Shaft.At the age of twenty-five, Parks was struck by photographs of migrant workers in a magazine and bought his first camera, a Voigtländer Brillant, for $12.50 at a Seattle, Washington, pawnshop. The photography clerks who developed Parks' first roll of film, applauded his work and prompted him to seek a fashion assignment at a women's clothing store in St. Paul, Minnesota, that was owned by Frank Murphy. Those photographs caught the eye of Marva Louis, the elegant wife of heavyweight boxing champion Joe Louis. She encouraged Parks to move to Chicago in 1940, where he began a portrait business and specialized in photographs of society women. Over the next few years, Parks moved from job to job, developing a freelance portrait and fashion photographer sideline. He began to chronicle the city's South Side black ghetto and, in 1941, an exhibition of those photographs won Parks a photography fellowship with the Farm Security Administration (FSA). Working as a trainee under Roy Stryker, Parks created one of his best-known photographs, American Gothic, Washington, D.C.,[5] named after the iconic Grant Wood painting, American Gothic. The photograph shows a black woman, Ella Watson, who worked on the cleaning crew of the FSA building, standing stiffly in front of an American flag hanging on the wall, a broom in one hand and a mop in the background. Parks had been inspired to create the image after encountering racism repeatedly in restaurants and shops in the segregated capitol city.Upon viewing the photograph, Stryker said that it was an indictment of America, and that it could get all of his photographers fired. He urged Parks to keep working with Watson, however, which led to a series of photographs of her daily life. Parks said later that his first image was overdone and not subtle; other commentators have argued that it drew strength from its polemical nature and its duality of victim and survivor, and so has affected far more people than his subsequent pictures of Mrs. Watson.After the FSA disbanded, Parks remained in Washington, D.C. as a correspondent with the Office of War Information. Finally, disgusted with the prejudice he encountered, however, he resigned in 1944. Moving to Harlem, Parks became a freelance fashion photographer for Vogue. He later followed Stryker to the Standard Oil Photography Project in New Jersey, which assigned photographers to take pictures of small towns and industrial centers. The most striking work by Parks during that period included, Dinner Time at Mr. Hercules Brown's Home, Somerville, Maine (1944); Grease Plant Worker, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (1946); Car Loaded with Furniture on Highway (1945); and Ferry Commuters, Staten Island, N.Y. (1946). Parks renewed his search for photography jobs in the fashion world. Despite racist attitudes of the day, the Vogue editor, Alexander Liberman, hired him to shoot a collection of evening gowns. Parks photographed fashion for Vogue for the next few years and he developed the distinctive style of photographing his models in motion rather than poised. During this time, he published his first two books, Flash Photography (1947) and Camera Portraits: Techniques and Principles of Documentary Portraiture (1948).A 1948 photographic essay on a young Harlem gang leader won Parks a staff job as a photographer and writer with Life magazine. For twenty years, Parks produced photographs on subjects including fashion, sports, Broadway, poverty, and racial segregation, as well as portraits of Malcolm X, Stokely Carmichael, Muhammad Ali, and Barbra Streisand. He became "one of the most provocative and celebrated photojournalists in the United States."Personal life:Parks was born in Fort Scott, Kansas, the son of Sarah (née Ross) and Jackson Parks. He was the last child born to them. His father was a farmer who grew corn, beets, turnips, potatoes, collard greens, and tomatoes. They also had a few ducks, chickens, and hogs. He attended a segregated elementary school. The town was too small to afford a separate high school that would facilitate segregation of the secondary school, but blacks were not allowed to play sports or attend school social activities,[17] and they were discouraged from developing any aspirations for higher education. Parks related in a documentary on his life that his teacher told him that his desire to go to college would be a waste of money. When Parks was eleven years old, three white boys threw him into the Marmaton River, knowing he couldn't swim. He had the presence of mind to duck underwater so they wouldn't see him make it to land. His mother died when he was fourteen. He spent his last night at the family home sleeping beside his mother's coffin, seeking not only solace, but a way to face his own fear of death. At this time, he left home, being sent to live with other relatives. That situation ended with Parks being turned out onto the street to fend for himself. In 1929, he briefly worked in a gentlemen's club, the Minnesota Club. There he not only observed the trappings of success, but was able to read many books from the club library.[20] When the Wall Street Crash of 1929 brought an end to the club, he jumped a train to Chicago, where he managed to land a job in a flophouse.Parks was married and divorced three times. Parks married Sally Alvis in Minneapolis during 1933 and they divorced in 1961. He married Elizabeth Campbell in 1962 and they divorced in 1973. Parks first met Genevieve Young in 1962 when he began writing The Learning Tree. At that time, his publisher assigned her to be his editor. They became romantically involved at a time when they both were divorcing previous mates, and married in 1973. They divorced in 1979. For many years, Parks was romantically involved with Gloria Vanderbilt, the railroad heiress and designer. Their relationship evolved into a deep friendship that endured throughout his lifetime.Parks fathered four children: Gordon, Jr., David, Leslie, and Toni (Parks-Parsons). His oldest son Gordon Parks, Jr., whose talents resembled his father, was killed in a plane crash in 1979 in Kenya, where he had gone to direct a film. Parks has five grandchildren: Alain, Gordon III, Sarah, Campbell, and Satchel. Malcolm X honored Parks when he asked him to be the godfather of his daughter, Qubilah Shabazz. Gordon Parks received more than twenty honorary doctorates in his lifetime.He died of cancer at the age of 93 while living in Manhattan, and is buried in his hometown of Fort Scott, Kansas.(Source: en.wikipedia.org)
Elizabeth (Lee) Miller
United States
1907 | † 1977
Lee Miller, 1907-1977, first entered the world of photography as a model in New York to photographers such as Edward Steichen, Arnold Genthe and George Hoyninguen-Huene. In 1929 Miller moved to Paris and became the assistant, and lover, of Man Ray. Together, they produced some of the most significant works of both of their careers, including rediscovering the solarisation technique in Man Ray’s darkroom. She quickly became established as both surrealist artist and photographer in her own right and returned to New York to run her own studio with commissions for portraits, packing shots and editorials for Vogue magazine. Lee Miller spent several years in the mid 1930’s living in Cairo with her Egyptian husband, Aziz Eloui Bey. Bored of life in the city, she would travel by jeep through the desert on photography exhibitions and re-imagine desert landscapes with her witty and surrealist flair. In 1939, Lee moved to London and worked as freelance photographer for British Vogue magazine. Alongside this, her documentation of the Blitz was published in Grim Glory, a pamphlet encouraging the US to join the war effort. Lee Miller later became one of the first ever female war correspondents accredited to the US army and travelled with the US troops throughout Europe during 1944 and 1945. She documented the liberation of Paris, the siege at St Malo and Buchenwald and Dachau concentration camps. Perhaps most famously, she took a self-portrait sitting in Adolf Hitler’s bathtub in his Munich apartment, a statement of the end of the war. Lee Miller mostly abandoned photography later in her life and didn’t speak of her wartime experiences. Her former and final home, Farley Farm House, Sussex, England is now the base of the Lee Miller Archives which holds over 60,000 of her negatives as well as manuscripts and vintage prints. Over 3,000 images are available to view at www.leemiller.co.uk
Imed Kolli
France/Algeria
1995
Imed Kolli is a 24-year-old photographer based in Algeria. By the time I was 16, my real eduction came from observing what is happening around me and observing that richness don't comes without struggle, and I was looking for a way to translate what I was seeing through my eyes and photography became my voice in this very big confusing world. I started to realize that photography has the power to change prescriptive on life and surprise people with something they don't usually see and sometimes they don't have any idea existed, and it began to push my life in such dramatic direction towards telling the larger story of what it means to be a human, so I bought my first camera , and that was the beginning. To say that my work is evocative would be something of an understatement. Specializing in harrowing, monochrome photos of people living on the fringes of society. I have been doing photography for the last 7 years, I specialized in street documentation photography toward telling the larger story of what it means to be a human and capturing the human condition. In the last 5 years, I had what you would call much a formal eduction by getting my Bachelor degree majoring photography at the highest institute of perfuming arts and audio visuals here in Algeria, I also had the chance to follow my main passion by continuing my master of fine art online degree program at the Academy of Art University in San-Fransisco. My passion for photography has actually never been stronger than it is today and it's 6 years that I've been making pictures that I've involved in visual storytelling. Most of what I know about the world has come through this medium, through practicing it through, learning about it. I've often said that photography is sort of like a condition that you catch and I caught it when I was 18 years old within about three months of learning about photography and I would say that today 7 years later that condition has never been more severe. During years I became obsessed with the idea of combining photography and documenting the human condition and that maybe that could be a way to bring these theories to the audience and perhaps get to learn and tell about the stories that need to be tell. My practice has always been predicated on international work mostly documenting work, documenting the human condition, but I've also done probably the largest project of my career so far ETERNAL FACES was obviously a domestic project, I spent 3 years on that and actually even since that project, I've continued to look at the issue of aging more so through film and multimedia and as time goes on and this is kind of connected to the question about my passion for photography. I feel like my repertoire for the kinds of stories that I want to do, the kinds of issues that I'm interested in are actually expanding, they're not narrowing, so I'm much more open to working on stories that in the past I might have considered you know softer or irrelevant. I'm talking about the world that is grinding out a lot of a critical issues that humanity is facing today, social issues political issues resource, issues you know climate change, how to deal with a permanent underclass of homelessness, I believe there's so many issues in the world that are critically important to look at. Statement This work is being classified as a Street-Portrait Photography which could actually offer a new way of prescriptive of people's portraits in black and white. I tried to reach the authenticity of people who had contracted the bitterness or resentfulness through their lives. The idea comes from street photography and how to shoot homeless, poor people in a beautiful manner from basic. It was all about dramatic situations and the spirituality of portraiture. To me, the most important characteristic was having a sharp eye and being aware of the environment around me. This means looking out for, not just colors, shapes, lights, shadows and so on, but observing my subjects and how they appear and act as well. I exposed the hardships and poor conditions of life of the deprived people through face expression. I did this in an attempt to assuage these problems. Vividly I wanted to expose the realities of squalid living and misery faced by homelessness every day. Harrowing street-portraits photography combined with emotion storytelling, were intended to engage and inform the audience and exhort them to act. What I accomplished by taking these photographs from the streets was to inform the world, How people are suffering every day. I wanted to show the life of these people lived, I had experimented with illustrations that dramatized the devastating human cost of the emotional expressions. I realized finally that only photographs seemed to capture the reality with sufficient resolution to change hearts. The singular emphasis in others on subjects, divested of a story, is all the more remarkable for this reason. In this project, I emphasized the reflective mode over the nature of my body of work envisaging,.The images chosen for The -Eternal Faces- did privilege the inventorial, world of observation and artistic classification as it reflects reality, with the objects taken out of context. There is no doubt that my body of work has profoundly shifted the way that we perceive these people in reality, the sensual appeal of reflection outcome intents in the real world has proved irresistible to photographers including my project Eternal Faces. Beginning with the intent to reflect these people's realities and finding expression in practitioners of widely differing outlooks and goals. Photographing these kind of subjects acquire an aura by being taken from their casual, often overlooked, position and put under intense scrutiny. The outcome intent tool which should look upon my project dispassionately is capable of creating images, filtered through the imagination, which compellingly engages the viewer's imagination and emotions. It wasn't empathy, It wasn't sympathy, it was more of a forced, intrinsic, and integral self-reflection. What I did is photograph emotions, I was photographing the initial moment when I laid eyes on the human being beautiful face shape that reflects the whole story of what it means to be broke, Injured, homeless, beggar and poor underprivileged and sometimes even hopeless. I gave with the often willing and knowing collaboration of my subjects, a metonymic typology of people who lived in dark side of society, representing for us the poor, homelessness, the other half. I was after the general truth of a general category, and the finer truths of individuals necessarily caught my inspiration to pick up this precise subject matter to photograph. The center of each picture was the subject matter: a person and his or her experience at that moment in time. To me and many other progressives, the rock bottom status added them from personal contact with the impoverished even when Christianity and the Social Gospel created a burden to extent charity to the disfranchised and discarded in society. I came imbuing them with the iconic soul of humanity and left almost engaging a subject in eyes contact. All of my photographs with human subjects refer to not where the subject is located, but the person before the lens and how did I visualize their emotions and feelings in a humanitarian neutral way. My images are intended to resonate with the viewer on a spiritual and human level and I try to pack in the metaphysical…attributes which tell their own story. I try to provoke an imaginative and intelligent response from the viewer with a purely visual reference.
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Call for Entries
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Publish your work in our printed magazine and win $1,000 cash prizes