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Stephen Wicks
Stephen Wicks
Stephen Wicks

Stephen Wicks

Country: United States

Stephen Wicks' attraction to photography began during his childhood. He says he was inspired by the photo essays in LIFE Magazine. Each week when a new issue arrived it seemed like the world beyond his home was in his hands and he had feelings for and wanted to meet the people who appeared in the pictures and visit the places he saw on the pages in the magazine.

Wicks has always had a deep interest in all forms of communication. He says his attraction to the visual world and belief in the power of images triggered his imagination, cultivated his intuition, awakened within him a natural curiosity and an instinct to questioning everything. These qualities have been the inspiration for Wicks to follow parallel careers as an imagemaker and visual educator.

As an artist Stephen Wicks has been using photography, videography, monologues and soundscapes to tell stories about the things he see's, questions and values. His motivation has been to create picture stories, in print and now also on the screen, to share with others what he has experienced, discovered and captured.

During his early career Wicks created traditional B&W photo essays with up close and personal photographs made, often while living with his subjects over a long period of time, and returning many years later to see and capture changes in their lives.

More recently, Wicks has been making digital color photographs of landscapes, places and objects found in spaces shared by the natural landscape and built environment. Although these photographs are void of people, he believes a human trace is visible in each picture and, with this in mind, he see's his Nature/Culture images as social landscapes. It is precisely the absence of people along with a sense of their presence, as seen in the marks and artifacts left in the environment, he now finds most fascinating.

Stephen Wicks is currently developing two presentation/performance/storytelling projects:

PICTURE STORIES: a series of live presentations based on thematic video vignettes, photographs and monologues about American people, places, experiences and events; including a dialogue with the audience (in development / launch: September 2019)

BEING THERE: his YouTube Channel - a video magazine about American Culture - including picture stories, video journals and commentary on education, art, communication, politics, economy, media (in development / launch: October 2019)
 

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More Great Photographers To Discover

John Thomson
Scotland
1837 | † 1921
John Thomson, one of the great figures of nineteenth century photography, is known for the unusual and exotic nature of his chosen subject matter. Born in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1837, Thomson took up photography as a profession in his early twenties. For ten years, from 1862, he traveled and explored the Far East, visiting Hong Kong, Singapore, Penang and the Malay Peninsula, Siam, Cambodia, Vietnam, Formosa and especially China. Utilizing a large wooden box-type camera capable of accommodating a glass plate of up to 12 x 16 inches, John Thomson photographed commoners and kings, attempting to capture the individual behind the veneer of social status. His photographic record of the Far East documented a complete panorama of the cultures and people of the Far East at a time when Westerners were a few and curious lot. John Thomson not only created a photographic history, but also wrote numerous articles and books on his travels and views of life in the Far East. There is no doubt that it was Thomson’s sympathetic approach to his subjects, and the dignity with which he embued them, as much as his great technical expertise, which enabled him to produce such an outstanding photographic documentary. It is this marriage between sensitivity, technical expertise and sheer professionalism, not to mention his voluminous literary output and descriptions of the scenes and people, which he photographed, that has earned Thomson the title of the ‘first of the great photo-journalists’. His work, which has only recently gained full recognition, represents one of the great photo-historical records in the history of documentary photography. Source Westwood Gallery
Kourtney Roy
Canada
1981
Roy (b.1981) was born in the wilderness of Northern Ontario, Canada. She holds a degree in media studies specializing in photography from the Emily Carr University of Art and Design in Vancouver, Canada. Roy is currently based in Paris, France, where she has been exhibiting her work nationally and internationally for over 10 years at such events and venues as Le Bal, Paris, the Musée Elysée, Lausanne, The Head On Photo Festival in Sydney and the Moscow International Photo Biennale. Kourtney Roy's work is bound up in an ambiguous and cinematic image-making that borders the real and the fantastic. Her approach to photography provokes contemplation and reconfiguration of common place subjects via playful revelation of the bizarre and the uncanny. She is fascinated with exploring the boundaries of liminal spaces; whether spatial, temporal or psychological. By using herself as the principal subject in her work, the artist creates a compelling, intimate universe inhabited by a multitude of diverse characters that explore these enigmatic themes. She has been the recipient of numerous awards and grants, including the Prix Picto (2007), Emily Award (2012), Carte Blanche PMU (2013), The Prix Elysée Nomination (2014) and The Canadian Council for the Arts artist grant (2015). Several books have been published on her work, including Ils pensent déjà que je suis folle (Editions Filigranes, 2014), California (Editions Louis Vuitton, 2016) and The Tourist (Editions La Pionnière, 2020). Source: www.kourtneyroy.com Roy has produced several series which all share the artist’s bold and cinematic aesthetic. Staged in laundrettes, motels, supermarkets and various other banal locations Roy creates hyper-realistic images that resemble film stills. Throughout her work Roy plays with ideas of the bizarre and the uncanny, whether it be a lone female figure walking along a deserted road in a vast landscape or a woman photographed through the wing mirror of a car, Roy’s photographs are permeated with an unsettling air. In her work Roy creates familiar still images of stereotyped heroines, using herself as the model Roy invents numerous characters for herself. This is a crucial element to her work, Roy has stated “It’s usually the male gaze, and the woman is the object to be looked at. So the idea was becoming the person who objectifies, but also objectifying myself. I just thought it was interesting to play the dual role.” Source: Huxley-Parlour The Canadian photographer Kourtney Roy was born in Northern Ontario in 1981. Intrigued by the possibility of creating a tragic mythology of the self, she conjures an intimate universe pervaded by both wonder and mystery. Kourtney Roy's photographer’s eye is drawn to places and settings whose lyrical qualities underscore the sublime banality of everyday life. Roy’s studies in photography, at Emily Carr University of Art and Design in Vancouver and later at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris, inspired her to develop her finicky aesthetic, which lends itself particularly well to both glossy paper and film. Roy works extensively as an independent photographer/filmmaker in the art world. Instilled with a dark sense of humor, taking their clues as much from the grotesque nature of seemingly placid settings as from the tensions simmering just under the surface, her photographs have garnered many prizes, including the Prix Picto in 2007, The Emily Award in Canada in 2012 and the Prix Carte Blanche PMU/Le Bal in 2013 and the Pernod Ricard Carte Blanche in 2018. In 2019 she won best experimental film at the Brest European Short Film Festival with her dark and dreamy piece, Morning, Vegas. Roy’s work has been exhibited widely in France, but also abroad. She has been seen at the Planche(s) Contact Festival in Deauville in 2012, The Portraits Festival in Vichy in 2015 and at Le Bal in 2014 and a solo show at Paris Photo in 2018, among other events and venues. Internationally Kourtney Roy’s photography has been featured at exhibitions in China, as well as Italy, Switzerland, The United States, Australia, the Moscow Photo Biennale in 2017 and at the Incadaqués International Photo Festival in Spain in 2019. Roy has also released several publications on her work including an accompanying artist book to Le Bal’s exhibition Ils pensent déjà que je suis folle and an artist’s book Enter as Fiction, both published by Filigrane Editions, as well as Northern Noir published by Editions La Pionnière. California is edited by Editions Louis Vuitton and was released in 2016 and her latest publication, The Tourist, is published by André Frère Editions and was released in November 2020.Source: Jackson Fine Art
Roger Fenton
United Kingdom
1819 | † 1869
Roger Fenton was a British photographer, noted as one of the first war photographers. He was born into a Lancashire merchant family. After graduating from London with an Arts degree, Fenton became interested in painting and later developed a keen interest in the new technology of photography after seeing early examples at The Great Exhibition in 1851. Within a year, he began exhibiting his own photographs. He became a leading British photographer and instrumental in founding the Photographic Society (later the Royal Photographic Society). It is likely that in autumn 1854, as the Crimean War grabbed the attention of the British public, that some powerful friends and patrons – among them Prince Albert and Duke of Newcastle, Secretary of State for War – urged Roger Fenton to go to the Crimea to record the happenings. The London print publisher Thomas Agnew & Sons became his commercial sponsor. The resulting photographs may have been intended to offset the general unpopularity of the war among the British people, and to counteract the occasionally critical reporting of correspondent William Howard Russell of The Times; the photographs were to be converted into woodblocks and published in the less critical Illustrated London News. He set off aboard HMS Hecla in February, landed at Balaklava on 8 March and remained there until 22 June. Fenton took Marcus Sparling as his photographic assistant, a servant known as William and a large horse-drawn van of equipment. Due to the size and cumbersome nature of his photographic equipment, Fenton was limited in his choice of motifs. Because the photographic material of his time needed long exposures, he was only able to produce pictures of stationary objects, mostly posed pictures; he avoided making pictures of dead, injured or mutilated soldiers. But he also photographed the landscape, including an area near to where the Charge of the Light Brigade – made famous in Tennyson's poem – took place. In letters home soldiers had called the original valley "The Valley of Death", and Tennyson's poem used the same phrase, so when in September 1855 Thomas Agnew put the picture on show, as one of a series of eleven collectively titled Panorama of the Plateau of Sebastopol in Eleven Parts in a London exhibition, he took the troops'—and Tennyson's—epithet, expanded it as The Valley of the Shadow of Death with its deliberate evocation of Psalm 23, and assigned it to the piece; it is not the location of the famous charge, which took place in a long, broad valley several miles to the south-east. Despite summer high temperatures, breaking several ribs in a fall, suffering from cholera and also becoming depressed at the carnage he witnessed at Sevastopol, in all Fenton managed to make over 350 usable large format negatives. An exhibition of 312 prints was soon on show in London and at various places across the nation in the months that followed. Fenton also showed them to Queen Victoria and Prince Albert and also to Emperor Napoleon III in Paris. Nevertheless, sales were not as good as expected. Despite the lack of commercial success for his Crimean photographs, Fenton later travelled widely over Britain to record landscapes and still life images. However, as time moved on, photography became more accessible to the general public. Many people sought to profit from selling quick portraits to common people. It is likely that Fenton, from a wealthy background, disdained 'trade' photographers, but nevertheless still wanted to profit from the art by taking exclusive images and selling them at good prices. He thus fell into conflict with many of his peers who genuinely needed to make money from photography and were willing to 'cheapen their art' (as Fenton saw it), and also with the Photographic Society, who believed that no photographer should soil himself with the 'sin' of exploiting his talent commercially in any manner. Amongst Fenton's photographs from this period are the City of Westminster, including The Palace of Westminster nearing completion in 1857 – almost certainly the earliest images of the building, and the only photographs showing the incomplete Clock Tower. In 1858 Fenton made studio genre studies based on romantically imaginative ideas of Muslim life, such as Seated Odalisque, using friends and models who were not always convincing in their roles. Although well known for his Crimean War photography, his photographic career lasted little more than a decade, and in 1862 he abandoned the profession entirely, selling his equipment and returned to the law as a barrister. Although becoming almost forgotten by the time of his death seven years later he was later formally recognized by art historians for his pioneering work and artistic endeavour. In 1862 the organizing committee for the International Exhibition in London announced its plans to place photography, not with the other fine arts as had been done in the Manchester Art Treasures Exhibition only five years earlier, but in the section reserved for machinery, tools and instruments – photography was considered a craft, for tradesmen. For Fenton and many of his colleagues, this was conclusive proof of photography's diminished status, and the pioneers drifted away. He died 8 August 1869 at his home in Potters Bar, Middlesex after a week-long illness – he was 50 years old. His wife died in 1886. Their graves were destroyed in 1969 when the Potters Bar church where they were buried was deconsecrated and demolished.Source: Wikipedia Roger Fenton is a towering figure in the history of photography, the most celebrated and influential photographer in England during the medium’s “golden age” of the 1850s. Before taking up the camera, he studied law in London and painting in Paris. He traveled to Russia in 1852 and photographed the landmarks of Kiev and Moscow; founded the Photographic Society (later designated the Royal Photographic Society) in 1853; was appointed the first official photographer of the British Museum in 1854; achieved widespread recognition for his photographs of the Crimean War in 1855; and excelled throughout the decade as a photographer in all the medium’s genres—architecture, landscape, portraiture, still life, reportage, and tableau vivant. Fenton’s most widespread acclaim came in 1855, with photographs of the Crimean War, a conflict in which British, French, Sardinian, and Turkish troops battled Russia’s attempt to expand its influence into European territory of the Ottoman empire. Fenton was commissioned by the Manchester publisher Thomas Agnew & Sons to travel to the Crimea and document the war, and his mission was encouraged by the government, which hoped that his photographs would reassure a worried public. Fenton’s extensive documentation of the war—the first such use of photography—included pictures of the port of Balaklava, the camps, the terrain of battle, and portraits of officers, soldiers, and support staff of the various allied armies. Perhaps inspired by the experience of traveling through Constantinople en route to Balaklava, or perhaps simply sharing the mid-nineteenth-century vogue for all things exotic, Fenton produced a theatrical suite of Orientalist compositions during the summer of 1858—costume pieces that strove for high art rather than documentation and that were, in a sense, an antidote to the harsh realities he had recorded in the Crimea. They owed as much to the paintings of Delacroix and Ingres as to Fenton’s own experience in the East. In 1862, after a final series of photographs—a remarkable group of lush still lifes—Fenton sold his equipment and negatives, resigned from the Royal Photographic Society, and returned to the bar. In the course of a single decade, Fenton had played a pivotal role—by advocacy and example—in demonstrating that photography could rival drawing and painting not only as a means of conveying information, but also as a medium of visual delight and powerful expression.Source: Metropolitan Museum of Art
Elisabeth Sunday
United States
Elisabeth Sunday has been photographing indigenous people across the African continent for the last 26 years. Using a flexible mirror she created for the purpose (and hand carries unaccompanied to some of the most remote and dangerous spots on earth), Sunday has created her own analog process that prefigured Photoshop that she calls "Mirror Photography". Her method of photographing her subjects emphasizes and enhances their grace, elongating the body and the folds of their garments, creating an impressionistic effect one might be used to seeing in painting but which is unexpected in a medium from which we often expect a more literal representation. The effect is closer to that of dance, in which the body has reshaped itself and learned to move in a way that proclaims and exaggerates all its best qualities, while momentarily silencing its flaws, and in which movement itself has an aesthetic, rather than merely practical, purpose. Typically Sunday captures an elongated vertical reflection, rushing and bleeding like a single expressive brush stroke. Although Sunday herself is never visible in the frame, she is as much actor as she is director within the drama of these photographs, as she strives to represent not so much the personal characteristics of her subjects, but an essential gesture that connects a given incarnation with the long history of the soul. In her Anima and Animus series, Sunday mediates on eternal masculine and feminine energies, using warlike Koro men and nomadic Tuareg women as subjects. The Anima women are hidden under flowing garments, slanting to left or right or reaching upward like dark flames against the steady white curve of a dune. The Animus figures rise like tough young trees or spears, rooted somewhere beneath the picture plane. Grace and violence here seem cast together in a solid block, As with so many of Elisabeth Sunday's figures, these seem composed of stone or bone more than living flesh. Elisabeth Sunday has shown in galleries and Museums the world over including the Cleveland Museum of Art, Centre cultural Calouste Gulbenkian, Paris, France, the African American Museum, Los Angeles; International Photography Biennial, Brecsia, Italy, UC Berkeley Art Museum; Salle d' Exposition, Arles, France, Le Maison de la Photographie, Aosta, Italy, Exploratorium Museum, San Francisco, CA Smithsonian Anakostia Museum, Center for African American History and Culture, Washington D.C. The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and The Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Her work is included in major collections: The Corcoran Art Gallery, The University Art Museum at Berkeley, The Cantor Art Center at Stanford University, The Los Angeles Museum of Art, The Museum of Fine Art-Houston, Le Bibliothèque Nationale de Paris, France, The San Francisco Museum of Art, and The Eastman Kodak Collection. Her private collectors include Graham Nash, Quincy Jones, Gloria Steinem, Linda Grey, Bill Cosby, Bonnie Raitt and Alice Walker.Source Frank Pictures Gallery
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