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Craig Varjabedian
Craig Varjabedian
Craig Varjabedian

Craig Varjabedian

Country: United States
Birth: 1957

"Craig Varjabedian's photographs of the American West would be the perfect illustrations to a Cormac McCarthy book. They have a surreal beauty and poetic emptiness that border on the fictional. It's as if this isn't the real West, but the West of tall tales and American dreams."
Claire O'neill, "The Picture Show," National Public Radio

Craig Varjabedian is an award-winning photographer, author, and teacher. His stunning photographs of the people and places of the American West are critically acclaimed, not only for their powerful imagery and artistic composition, but also for their ability to transcend the commonplace-immanently engaging the viewer with scenes that passionately reflect the artist's connection to his subjects. Varjabedian achieves this goal through a skillful visionary acuity and intuition, allowing him to make photographs that expand awareness. As a result, viewers are presented with new ways of seeing and experiencing this region so integral to our collective imagination and our unique American identity.

Varjabedian's gift lies in his ability to blend both technical expertise and illustrative narrative-depicting lyrical images that reveal the humanity and character of a vast sometimes barren country known for its legendary beauty and dramatic heritage. Varjabedian's photographs tell contemporary stories that continue to inspire today what has historically been recognized as the "spirit of the Great American West."

Craig graduated from the University of Michigan witha Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, and received his Master's degree from the prestigious Rochester Institute of Technology. As a fine art photographer for over forty years, Varjabedian has been widely praised for his masterful images ranging from awe-inspiring, expansive landscapes, to intimate soul-revealing portraits. He is also the director of Eloquent Light Photography Workshops in Santa Fe.

In further recognition of his work, Varjabedian has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, the McCune Charitable Foundation, and the New Mexico Humanities Council. His photographs have been exhibited in, and his prints collected by, museums around the country, including the William Benton Museum of Art, the Baltimore Museum of Art, the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin, and the Albuquerque Museum of Art.

In 1991, Craig received an Emmy Award for his collaboration with award-winning filmmaker Karl Kernberger on the PBS documentary En Divina Luz: The Penitente Moradas of New Mexico. Photographs from this project were published in a 1994 book by the same name. Craig's other books include By the Grace of Light: Images of Faith from Catholic New Mexico (1998), Four & Twenty Photographs: Stories from Behind the Lens (2007); Ghost Ranch and the Faraway Nearby (2009), which received the prestigious Wrangler Award for Outstanding Photography Book from the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum; and Landscape Dreams, A New Mexico Portrait (2012), released to coincide with the New Mexico State Centennial.

Varjabedian's latest book, Into the Great White Sands, a photographic celebration of White Sands National Monument, was published by the University of New Mexico Press in 2018. The book received a prestigious New Mexico/Arizona Book Award.

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More Great Photographers To Discover

Claudio Rasano
Switzerland
1970
Claudio Rasano lives and works in Basel, Switzerland. His work explores the relationship between spaces and humans, the subject within the space and the space as the subject itself. Rasano has a genuine and identifiable style that crosses documentary and fine art practices. He works with people from similar backgrounds, circumstances and experiences - environmental portraits and landscapes depicting a quiet anthropological commentary. There is a strong relationship between the environmental portraits and the landscape images. He is the recipient of Photovogue Portraits 2017, Taylor Wessing Photographic Prize 2016, Lensculture portrait award Finalists, Syngenta Photography Award Unseen and Life 2017 Framer World Travellers. 2019 Meitar Award for Excellence in Photography at PHOTO IS:RAEL Statement My work may cross countries and continents, but there is one thing that features centrally throughout, people. People are the focal point of his work, whether it's schoolchildren in South Africa or cigarette sellers in Tirana, the story of the country that Claudio is working in is told through its people. "I love to explore the relationship between spaces and humans, the subject within the space and the space as the subject itself, I work with people from similar backgrounds, circumstances and experiences -environmental portraits and landscapes depicting a quiet anthropological commentary. It is important for me to see that there is a strong relationship between environmental portraits and landscape images." His work is focused around the human stories of an area, but in many cases it is not just the person that is of interest. The composition of many of his images, even when portraits, provides a snapshot of the landscapes and built environments that are around the subject. This contextualises many of his photographs, helping you to build a more rounded impression of the individuals based on their surroundings too - the perfect example of this being his image of South African workmen in sodden clothes.
Samantha VanDeman
United States
1982
Samantha was born in Chicago, IL. She received a BFA in Fine Art from Columbia College Chicago and an MFA in Visual Arts from The Art Institute of Boston at Lesley University. During the summer of 2003, Samantha studied drawing at Santa Repararta International School of Art in Florence, Italy. Her work has been published and exhibited in the United States and abroad. Samantha lives and works in Chicago, IL. Born in 1982, Samantha VanDeman grew up in the suburbs of Chicago. She studied fine arts at Columbia College Chicago, receiving a BFA in 2005. During her last year in college, she took a B+W photography class and found her passion. From that point on, she started to actively documenting everything around her. In 2007, she returned to college, this time to earn a MFA in photography from the Art Institute of Boston at Lesley University in 2009. It was during her time at the low residency program at AIB, that she was able to have independent studies with artists such as Anne Wilson, Mayumi Lake, Jeanne Dunning, and Laura Letinsky. Samantha has exhibited her work nationally. Her work has been exhibited at Emory Visual Arts Gallery, Atlanta, GA; Finch and Ada, NY; New Orleans Photo Alliance Gallery, New Orleans, LA; Las Manos Gallery, Chicago, IL; Gallery 263, Cambridge, MA; Midwest center for Photography, Wichita, KS; Gallery 808, Boston, MA; Change Artist Space, San Francisco, CA; Perspective Gallery, Evanston, IL; Barrett Art Center Galleries, Poughkeepsie, NY; Fourth Wall Projects in Boston, MA; The Center for Fine Art Photography in Fort Collins, CO; Newspace Center for Photography in Portland, OR; Black Box Gallery, Portland, OR; Texas Photographic Society, San Antonio, TX ; Wright Museum of Art in Beloit, WI and Review Santa Fe 100. Samantha VanDeman is adjunct faculty at The Art Institute of Illinois in Tinley Park, IL. All about Samantha VanDeman:AAP: When did you realize you wanted to be a photographer?My last year as an undergraduate at Columbia College Chicago, I took a Black and white photography class. It was then I knew I wanted to be a photographer. Up until that point, I wanted to be a painter. AAP: Where did you study photography? I studied photography at The Art Institute of Boston at Lesley University. During my time at The Art Institute of Boston, I had independent studies with Laura Letinsky, Jeanne Dunning, Anne Wilson and Mayumi Lake.AAP:Do you have a mentor?Laura Letinksy has been a friend/mentor since 2008 AAP: How long have you been a photographer?10 yearsAAP: Do you remember your first shot? What was it?My first shot was of rotten fruit.AAP: What or who inspires you?I’m inspired by silence, decay, kindness and long road trips. Artists who inspire me are Jenny Saville, Edward Hopper, Sally Mann and Fiona Apple.AAP: What kind of gear do you use? Camera, lens, digital, film?Canon 5DAAP: Do you spend a lot of time editing your images?I do minimal editing.AAP: Favorite(s) photographer(s)?Sally Mann, Angela Strassheim, Nan Goldin and Corrine DayAAP: What advice would you give a young photographer?Find your own voice and follow your gut. Your best work will come from the projects you are most passionate about.AAP: What mistake should a young photographer avoid?Trying too hard to be different or copying another photographer’s styleAAP: An idea, a sentence, a project you would like to share?I’m currently working on a project called “Died Alone”. This project explores abandoned living spaces of people that died alone in their home.AAP: Your best memory has a photographer?My fondest memory: The first time I explored the abandoned – now demolished Michael Reese Hospital in Chicago. I had never explored an abandoned place before Michael Reese Hospital, so it opened up a whole new world for me.AAP: If you could have taken the photographs of someone else who would it be?Weegee or Walker Evans
Kristoffer Albrecht
Kristoffer Albrecht is a Finnish photographer, born in Helsinki, Finland in 1961. Albrecht lives in Ingå, Finland, and works as an independent photographer. His photographic work has been exhibited in his native Finland and internationally. Albrecht's work can be seen in collections at Helsinki’s Finnish Museum of Photography, Stockholm’s Moderna Museet, Moscow’s Pushkin Museum, Bibliothèque Nationale de France in Paris, Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and more. Albrecht has published some 30 books, among them Metropol (1998), Memorabilia (2004) and ZigZag in Europe (2009). Kristoffer Albrecht is represented in art museums and other public collections in Finland, France, Germany, Russia, Sweden, USA. Kristoffer Albrecht has been exhibiting both at home and abroad since 1983. Previously mentored by acclaimed Finnish photographer Pentti Sammallahti, Albrecht exhibited alongside Sammallahti at in the Print Sales Gallery in 2017. Near the Wind showcased a collaborative body of work specially commissioned by The Photographers’ Gallery. Albrecht has exhibited in solo and group shows across Finland, Russia, Demark, France, Spain and the US since 1983, and his works can be found in international public collections including the Finnish Museum of Photography, Helsinki, the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Paris, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, the Modern Museet, Stockholm and The Pushkin Museum, Moscow. Making photobooks is an important means of his artistic expression; to date Albrecht has published some thirty photobooks, most recently Domestica (2018). He has been teaching photography and also conducting research in the field for several decades.Source: Invaluable
Nikos Economopoulos
Nikos Economopoulos (b.1953) is a Greek photographer known for his photography of the Balkans and of Greece in particular. Born in Kalamata, Economopoulos studied law at university and worked as a journalist. He only started taking photographs at 25 when a friend in Italy showed him a book of the work of Henri Cartier-Bresson, which had an impact that was both instant and lasting. Cartier-Bresson "showed me a new way to see things... What I saw in his work was not only geometry and composition, but a kind of ambiguity." Economopoulos recalls that even then he did not start photography for over two years but instead bought photography books. Then he started photography: "I never photographed sunrises or made souvenir pictures of my children. For about eight or nine years I photographed at weekends and during my holidays, always in a serious way, working from morning to night." As early as 1984, Economopoulos says, "it bothered me ideologically that Greeks and Turks were enemies", and he visited Turkey to take photographs. "No Greek at that time would go to Turkey on holiday", he writes, and his Greek friends were incredulous; but Economopoulos quickly felt at home in Turkey, where the atmosphere "was exactly the same as when I was a kid in the 1960s." (Much later, he would add that Greece and western Turkey had replaced tavernas with McDonald's, while east Turkey still preserved the values of the past.) In 1988, Economopoulos finished work as a journalist and set off on a two-year photographic survey of Greece and Turkey. Nikos Economopoulos was encouraged to join Magnum Photos by the Greek-American photographer Costa Manos, and became an associate member in 1990 and, after his work in Albania, Bulgaria, Romania and the former Yugoslavia, a full member in 1994. His early work won him the 1992 Mother Jones Award for Documentary Photography. In 1993, Frank Viviano, who had first met Economopoulos in Timișoara just after the fall of Nicolae Ceauşescu, wrote that: "Economopoulos says his intention is to document the existence of what he calls the 'Balkan Man': to knit together the skeins of a collective identity in a region whose historical convulsions have made its name a synonym for implacable differences. It would appear to be a fool's errand. But almost anyone who has crossed the madman's web of frontiers and borders that stretches over the Balkans, from Istanbul to the Italian border, is likely to agree with Economopoulos's premise — and to recognize, in his work, the contradictions that sum up Balkan truth." With support from the Little Brothers of the Poor, in 1994 Economopoulos photographed gypsies in Greece, and in 1995–96 lignite miners and Muslims in Greece. In 1997–98 he concentrated on people living on the "Green Line" separating Northern Cyprus, illegal migration across the Albanian–Greek border, and young people in Tokyo; and for the next two years Albanians fleeing Kosovo. He also worked on a commission from the University of the Aegean on storytelling in the region. Economopoulos was dissatisfied with the assignment in Japan, as he felt unable to communicate with people and was just as estranged after three weeks of work as he had been on his arrival. By contrast, he writes that "I prefer to spend my time in my corner of the world, south Europe and west Asia, where I understand the codes and can make connections." This does not mean that the Balkans are an open book to him: Economopoulos has also written of the paradoxes apparent in Albania; and also across the Balkans, where faces can be sad even in wedding parties. Economopoulos's photography of Turkey won him the 2001 Abdi İpekçi Award for promoting friendship between Turkey and Greece. Painfully aware of the bitterness often encouraged in both Greece and Turkey toward the other, he has written appreciatively of the personal welcome given to him by the Turks that he meets. "There are no real differences [between Greeks and Turks]. I love Turkey and I can live there. I can't live in Paris or in London. But Istanbul — I can live there." Economopoulos's photographs have been published in The Guardian, The Independent, Le Monde, Libération, The New York Times, El País, and Die Zeit. He feels that there is no future in photojournalism. There is a loss of quality in photographs in newspapers, and Robert Capa would not take photographs if he were living today. But he concedes that Abbas and James Nachtwey would be among those who disagree.Source: Wikipedia In the mid-1990s, he started photographing the Roma and other minorities. In 2000, he completed a book project on the Aegean islands storytellers, commissioned by the University of the Aegean. A retrospective of his work titled Economopoulos, Photographer was published in 2002 and later exhibited at the Benaki Museum, Athens. Returning to Turkey, he pursued his long-term personal project, where he received the Abdi Ipektsi award (2001), for peace and friendship between Greek and Turkish people. He has recently turned to the use of color. Currently, he is spending most of his time away from Greece, traveling, teaching and photographing around the world, in the context of his long-term On The Road project.Source: Magnum Photos
Ave Pildas
United States
1939
Thank God I had a really good education. - Ave Pildas Ave Pildas began his arts education as an architecture student, designing department stores, government and medical buildings. Before long, this path felt too conservative and constricting, so he changed majors to design. Creating products, packaging and graphics provided enough diversity, to seem like "complete freedom" at the time. Concurrently, Ave was designing exhibits, displays, graphics and publications for the Cincinnati Public Library. After studying at the University of Cincinnati and graduating from the Cincinnati Art Academy inn 1962, Ave headed east to Pittsburgh, where he worked designing collateral for U.S. Steel, Alcoa, Pittsburgh Plate Glass, Koppers, and Westinghouse. At Westinghouse he met renowned graphic designer Paul Rand. With encouragement from Rand and well-known typographer Noel Martin, Ave traveled to Switzerland and enrolled at the Kunstgewerbeshule, studying typography and graphic design during the Cold War. As a student, he visited every country in Europe and parts of North Africa, often by car. It was at this time that Ave set the lofty goal of "raising the visual conscience" of the world, and, at the conclusion of his studies, accepted a position as assistant professor at Philadelphia College of Art, now the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. Since then, he has taught at Layton School of Art, Leicester Polytechnic in Britain, Cal Arts, Art Center College of Design, UCLA, USC, as well as Otis College of Art and Design, where he served as Chair of the Communication Arts Department. He is currently Professor Emeritus at Otis. "Although Pildas was formally trained in Swiss design, he developed an early love for photography in the '60s when he photographed jazz legends like Thelonious Monk, John Coltrane and Dizzy Gillespie for Downbeat Magazine," writes Mae Ryan of Southern California Public Radio/KPCC. For over 50 years, Ave's been taking pictures of diverse subject matter. Many of his images of Hollywood Boulevard from the 1970s reside in the permanent collections of museums and libraries including LACMA and the New York Public Library. He has published three books: Art Deco LA, Movie Palaces, and Bijou, which was released in December 2016 by Nazraeli Press. Ave Pildas provides a fascinating glimpse into how, over the span of four decades, the streets and people of Hollywood Boulevard have both changed and remained curiously the same, writes Haley Evans for Beautiful Decay Magazine. In the studio, Ave is working on a still-life series based on circles, squares, and triangles, substituting geometric objects like pyramids, cubes, and spheres for the typical vase of flowers or table setting. Outside the studio, Ave shoots "Paper Movies". These collages of multiple images are shot in public spaces and allow him to interact with passers by, encouraging them to participate with the photographer and the background. After collecting hundreds of photos, he edits them to tell a visual story, combining them into a single piece. He is also producing short, stop-action videos using still images from "Paper Movies" to promote the series. One of the videos, "Stairway to Heaven," assembled from images of a staircase at The Getty Museum, garnered 40,000 views in a week. Joseph Bellows Gallery Richard Moore Photographs Tufenkian Fine Arts Rock Photography Museum Small Books & Small Prints
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