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Nanna Heitmann
Nanna Heitmann
Nanna Heitmann

Nanna Heitmann

Country: Germany/ Russia

Nanna Heitmann is a German/ Russian documentary photographer, based between Russia and Germany. Her work has been published by TIME Magazine, M Le Magazine du Monde, De Volkskrant, Stern Magazine and she has worked on assignments for outlets including The New York Times, TIME Magazine, The Washington Post and Stern Magazine. She has received awards that include the Leica Oscar Barnack Newcomer Award, the Ian Parry Award of Achievement. Nanna Heitmann joined Magnum as a nominee in 2019.

Hiding from Baba Yaga

"Vasilisa was running faster than she had ever run before. Soon she could hear the witch, Baba Yaga's mortar bumping on the ground behind her. Desperately, she remembered the thin black cat's words and threw the towel behind her on the ground. The towel grew bigger and bigger, and wetter and wetter, and soon a deep, broad river stood between the little girl and Baba Yaga.

Vasilisa threw the comb behind her, and the comb grew bigger and bigger, and its teeth sprouted up into a thick forest, so thick that not even Baba Yaga could force her way through. And Baba Yaga the witch, the bony-legged one, gnashing her teeth and screaming with rage and disappointment, finally turned round and drove away back to her little hut on hen's legs."

From time immemorial people have sought protection and freedom on the banks of the Yenisei and the adjacent wild taiga. For a long time, the banks of the Yenisei have been pervaded by nomadic peoples.
The Russians, coming from the west, chased by the greed for valuable fur, did not reach the river until 1607. Criminals, escaped serfs, apostates or simply adventurers, joined together in wild rider associations and expanded ever deeper into the vast wild Taiga. The life of the settlers in Siberia was free and self-determined for the time. Old believers settled on lonely banks of the Yenisei to escape the persecution of the Tsar and later the Soviets.
With Stalin the Yenisei became a place of exile and forced labor. The Soviets not only chained the native peoples, but also the Yenisei. With two giant dams they created lakes of almost 400km length. Villages sank in the water, the climate changed. A dense fog swept over the river. The USSR is history. Today, most people are drawn to big cities like Moscow or St Petersburg. Therefore the Yenisei turns more and more into a space for dreamers and loners to escape the worldly world.

Not far from the banks of the Yenisei lives Yuri, who has built a small hut on a landfill. Here he can find food for his 15 former street dogs, here he lives freely. Nothing keeps him in the city, where thick coal dust covers the white snow in winter. "All my friends are in the cemetery. Drugs or alcohol." Following the stream of the Yenisei north one encounters Valentin. An self claimed anarch ecologist - a former officer, traumatized by war missions. Today he lives on his small property in the forest. Even at minus 50 degrees, he sleeps outside by the fire. From endless wars he has enough. "All the people of this world, live together in peace and protect your forests." Only to those who threaten the Siberian forests he declares war. "We have a wonderful forest. How many tress grow here. But we need more forests to breathe. Humanity destroyed our forests. These must be revived immediately. "

Not far from the source of the Yenisei, Vaselisa lives in the village of Old Believers. Her parents are both deaf and the only heathens in a village that lives strictly to century-old rituals. She doesn't like the children in her village. Her only friend lives in the village of Sissim. While summer holidays the Yenisei and a walk separates them from each other.

Encountering all this different people, there is a bond which connects them with each other. The seek of freedom, protection, imprisonment and isolation. The Yenisei and its woods become a metaphor of a dreamscape: Loneliness, unfulfilled dreams, death, abandoned hopes shape people as much as the vast nature, which at the same time gives so much freedom and places of retreat.
 

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Keiichi Tahara
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1951 | † 2017
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Following his graduation from Columbia during the Great Depression, Rothstein was invited to Washington DC by one of his professors at Columbia, Roy Stryker. Rothstein had been Stryker's student at Columbia University in the early 1930s. In 1935, as a college senior, Rothstein prepared a set of copy photographs for a picture sourcebook on American agriculture that Stryker and another professor, Rexford Tugwell were assembling. The book was never published, but before the year was out, Tugwell, who had left Columbia to be part of FDR's New Deal brain trust, hired Stryker. Stryker hired Rothstein to set up the darkroom for Stryker's Photo Unit of the Historical Section of the Resettlement Administration (RA). Arthur Rothstein became the first photographer sent out by Roy Stryker, the head of the Photo Unit. During the next five years he shot some of the most significant photographs ever taken of rural and small-town America. He and other FSA photographers, including Esther Bubley, Marjory Collins, Marion Post Wolcott, Walker Evans, Russell Lee, Gordon Parks, Jack Delano, John Vachon, Carl Mydans, Dorothea Lange and Ben Shahn, were employed to publicize the living conditions of the rural poor in the United States. The Resettlement Administration became the Farm Security Administration (FSA) in 1937. Later, when the country geared up for World War II, the FSA became part of the Office of War Information (OWI). The photographs made during Rothstein's five-year stint with the Photo Unit form a catalog of the agency's initiatives. One of his first assignments was to document the lives of some Virginia farmers who were being evicted to make way for the Shenandoah National Park and about to be relocated by the Resettlement Administration, and subsequent trips took him to the Dust Bowl and to cattle ranches in Montana. The immediate incentive for his February 1937 assignment came from the interest generated by congressional consideration of farm tenant legislation sponsored in the Senate by John H. Bankhead II, a Democrat from Alabama with a strong interest in agriculture. Enacted in July, the Bankhead-Jones Farm Tenant Act gave the agency its new lease on life as the Farm Security Administration. The Farm Security file would never have been created if we hadn’t the freedom to photograph anything, anywhere in the United States—anything that we came across that seemed interesting, and vital. -- Arthur Rothstein On February 18, 1937, Stryker wrote Rothstein that the journalist Beverly Smith had told him about a tenant community at Gee's Bend, Alabama, and was preparing an article on tenancy for the July issue of The American Magazine, but Stryker sensed bigger possibilities, telling Rothstein, "We could do a swell story; one that Life [magazine] will grab." Stryker planned to visit Alabama and asked Rothstein to wait for him, but he was never able to make the trip, and Rothstein went to Gee's Bend alone. The residents of Gee's Bend symbolized two different things to the Resettlement Administration. On the one hand, reports about the community prepared by the agency describe the residents as isolated and primitive, people whose speech, habits, and material culture reflected an African origin and an older way of life. On the other hand, the agency's agenda for rehabilitation implied a view of the residents as the victims of slavery and the farm-tenant system on a former plantation. The two perceptions may be seen as related: if these tenants — despite their primitive culture— could benefit from training and financial assistance, their success would demonstrate the efficacy of the programs. Unlike the subjects of many Resettlement Administration and Farm Security Administration photographs, the people of Gee's Bend are not portrayed as victims. The photographs do not show the back-breaking work of cultivation and harvest, but only offer a glimpse of spring plowing. At home, the residents do not merely inhabit substandard housing but are engaged in a variety of domestic activities. The dwellings at Gee's Bend must have been as uncomfortable as the frame shacks thrown up for farm workers everywhere, but Rothstein's photographs emphasize the log cabins' picturesque qualities. This affirming image of life in Gee's Bend is reinforced by Rothstein's deliberate, balanced compositions which lend dignity to the people being pictured. There does not seem to have been a Life magazine story about Gee's Bend, but a long article ran in the New York Times Magazine of August 22, 1937. It is illustrated by eleven of Rothstein's pictures, with a text that draws heavily upon a Resettlement Administration report dated in May. The story extols the agency's regional director as intelligent and sympathetic and describes the Gee's Bend project in glowing terms. Reporter John Temple Graves II perceived the project as retaining agrarian—and African—values. In 1940, Rothstein became a staff photographer for Look magazine but left shortly thereafter to join the OWI and then the US Army as a photographer in the Signal Corps. His military assignment took him to the China-Burma-India theatre and he remained in China following his discharge from the military in 1945, working as chief photographer for the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration, documenting the Great Famine and the plight of displaced survivors of the Holocaust in the Hongkew ghetto of Shanghai. In 1947, Rothstein rejoined Look as Director of Photography. He remained at Look until 1971 when the magazine ceased publication. Rothstein joined Parade magazine in 1972 and remained there until his death. He was the author of numerous magazine articles and a staff columnist for US Camera and Modern Photography magazines and the New York Times, Rothstein wrote and published nine books. Rothstein's photographs are in permanent collections throughout the world and have appeared in numerous exhibitions. A selection of these one-man shows include shows at the International Museum of Photography at George Eastman House; the Smithsonian Institution; Photokina; Corcoran Gallery of Art; Royal Photographic Society, as well as traveling exhibitions for the United States Information Service and for Parade magazine. He was a member of the faculty of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and a Spencer Chair Professor at S. I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, Syracuse University. Rothstein was also on the faculties of Mercy College, and the Parsons School of Design in New York City, and he took great pride in mentoring young photographers including Stanley Kubrick, Douglas Kirkland, and Chester Higgins, Jr. A recipient of more than 35 awards in photojournalism and a former juror for the Pulitzer prize, Rothstein was also a founder and former officer of the American Society of Magazine Photographers (ASMP). Arthur Rothstein died on November 11, 1985, in New Rochelle, New York.Source: Wikipedia It is sometimes desirable to distort or accentuate with lenses of various focal lengths... Deliberate distortion may actually add to its reality. -- Arthur Rothstein
Mo Verlaan
Netherlands
1963
"After graduating from the Rietvelt Art Academy in Amsterdam, I started out in experimental theatre, creating sets on location as well as performing. In 1993, I founded De Drie Gezusters with my sisters catering to (inter)national film crews on location from a converted truck. Eight years ago, my love for photography made me enter the Photo Academy. The book and series titled Resonance was part of my graduation in 2016. In these photographs my fascination with light and luminance finds its expression. The Memory of Time is a study about the plasticity of time and light, to see time and light as something elastic. For me there is a strong correlation between the impermanence of light and the fluidity of time." "In The Memory of Time I explore abstract spaces. What interests me most, are architectural structures where light can fleet in and out, creating a new space. To me light is both a tangible and evanescent medium, if not a language. By fading, molding and carving the light in my photographs, I transform reality and move into an imaginative and intuitive realm. The process involves composing layered images that nearly look like drawings, scraping off the innate realism that is part of photography, thus creating a more sensorial and subliminal world." Winner Single Image 9th Julia Margaret Cameron Award 2016, Category Architecture. Works from the series Resonance received several Honorable Mentions: Tokyo International Foto Awards 2016 (2x), The Monochrome Awards 2016 (4x), The Monovision Photography Awards 2017 (6x), IPA 2017 (2x), IPA 2018 One Shot Harmony (1x). The series Resonance was exhibited at The Indian Photography Festival 2016. The book Resonance was exhibited at: Scan Photobooks (Spain), The Griffin Museum (USA), RPSP (UK), Tripp Gallery (UK), Unveil'd (UK). Publication in the NEW2017, 100 Best Emerging Dutch Photographers of the year 2017.
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