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John R. Pepper
John R. Pepper
John R. Pepper

John R. Pepper

Country: Italy
Birth: 1958

John Randolph Pepper, (1958) is an Italian photographer, screenwriter, theatre and film director, the son of sculptress Beverly Pepper and journalist/writer Curtis Bill Pepper, editor of Newsweek and manager of its Rome office. He was born and raised in Rome; lives in Palermo and works worldwide.

Pepper started his career in Black & White analogical photography with an apprenticeship to Ugo Mulas at 14. He published his first photograph at 15 and had his first show at 17.

He studied History of Art at Princeton University, where he was also the youngest member of the exclusive painting program, '185 Nassau Street'. He then became a 'Directing Fellow' at The American Film Institute, (Los Angeles) and subsequently worked as a director in theatre and film for 20 years. For thirty years, he dedicated himself to photography while directing both theatre and film. During that time he continued to take photographs with his Leica camera always using the same Ilford HP5 film stock.

John R. Pepper, represented by the Art of Foto Gallery (St. Petersburg, Russia) and The Empty Quarter Gallery (Dubai, UAE), is a 'Cultural Ambassador' of numerous Italian Institutes of Culture in may parts of the world. Since 2008 he has exhibited his different projects 'Rome: 1969 - An Homage to Italian Neo-Realist Cinema', 'Sans Papier', 'Evaporations' in the United States, France, Italy, the Middle East and Russia. He has published three books and is represented in several major museums around the world.

Since 2015 Pepper has been working on his project 'Inhabited Deserts', where he explores deserts and their effect on time, history and people. 'Inhabited Deserts' debuted in Paris in November 2017; in September 2018, with the support of the Italian Embassy in Iran and the Italian Foreign Ministry, Pepper exhibited at the Aaran Projects Gallery in Tehran where he was one of the first Italian photographers since the Iranian Revolution of 1979. In November 2018, after participating at Paris Photo with the Galerie Sophie Scheidecker, 'Inhabited Deserts' went to Tel Aviv, Israel, representing Italy at the 6th International Photo Festival 'Photo Is:Rael'.

From December 12th 2018 to February 15th Inhabited Deserts was presented at The Empty Quarter Gallery in Dubai, U.A.E. with curatorial text by Kirill Petrin. Subsequently the show opened on March 19, 2019 in Saint Petersburg, Russia, at the Art of Foto Gallery and shortly thereafter, on April 18th, it returned to Tel Aviv at the NOX Contemporary Gallery. In 2020 Inhabited Deserts will be seen in the United States and Italy.

Per John Pepper

"When talking about photography, we're talking about time. The image is fixed in time. We also talk about black and white and color, digital and film, reality and punctum - the critical concept of the French philosopher Roland Barthes, denoting the wounding, personally touching detail, which establishes a direct relationship with the object or person within it.

Is a photographer an artist or not? The ones who feel they are, modestly define themselves as artisans. Still others, who do not think of themselves as photographers will snap photos relying on destiny's outcome. Finally, there are the ones who fantasize conceptual sequences snapped in extravagant situations - most of which without interest. About photography, much has been said. There are established masters, schools of thought, and many hopes. Yet whoever is sufficiently open to a vision within himself, who has cherished and assimilated the masters, will emerge with something new. Passion triumphs when backed by culture.

When looking at one of John Pepper's photographs - the one with the group of people, friends and family, in front of their home, for example - I think of Paul Strand's image in his book, published with Zavattini 'Un paese' del 1955. There is a similar gathering of characters at the doorstep of their home. Time here is not just in the shutter time and lens aperture - a sixtieth of a second at eight - but in the transformation of the people, in the process of revealing themselves. With John, however, the appearances differ from those of Strand - moved up in time as evident in the shoes and pants, the motorcycle helmet, the technology of the wheelchair and the modern necklace of the young girl.

They appear happy and to be speaking to the photographer. Despite some apparently expensive upper-class possessions, we perceive they are of a modest condition. In Strand's photograph, there is no doubt they are of peasant culture. Motionless, they stare at the photographer with a serious gaze, though ignorant of the world of images. Today, image is consumerism. It goes beyond diffidence. Everyone can have a camera, a motorcycle helmet and Nike shoes. People are well nurtured; they have even grown in height.

With John the scene is of movement. The characters interact with ease, and the photographer is part of the game. He uses black and white film enhanced by the fine art of printing - images stemming from classical photography.

John was just a boy when he came to my house in Milan, in piazza Castello, above the studio that once belonged to Ugo. I like to think that the darkroom at that time influenced him. Who knows? However, I do believe that Ugo's work helped him to become a photographer.

His reportage in Italy is filtered through the memory of many great photographers - Diane Arbus, Cartier Bresson, Robert Frank, the first Richard Avedon, and William Klein to name a few. He has also traveled through Italy, in the streets and byways of youth, finding dramatic, enlightened faces in the theater of life.

His portrait of the religious procession is most beautiful, with a perfect, compact, composition, among astonished angels and those bearing a religious float against a sharp background of light.

John lives and works in Palermo, an outward antithesis of New York. An American born and raised in Italy, it is as an Italian that he grasps the vital spirit, the soul, and the humanity of people. His choice to live in a region like Sicily, so full of contradictions and archaic values, will surely help him in chronicling the history of change in our era.

Then, apart from making art, he will have absorbed it as his own - a part of his life that will recur in defining time, space, and the evolution of the human condition."

Antonia Mulas, Todi, May 5, 2012
 

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(Arthur Fellig) Weegee
Austria/United States
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Weegee was the pseudonym of Arthur Fellig (June 12, 1899 – December 26, 1968), a photographer and photojournalist, known for his stark black and white street photography. Weegee worked in the Lower East Side of New York City as a press photographer during the 1930s and '40s, and he developed his signature style by following the city's emergency services and documenting their activity. Much of his work depicted unflinchingly realistic scenes of urban life, crime, injury and death. Weegee published photographic books and also worked in cinema, initially making his own short films and later collaborating with film directors such as Jack Donohue and Stanley Kubrick. Weegee was born Ascher (Usher) Fellig in Z?oczów (now Zolochiv, Ukraine), near Lemberg, Austrian Galicia. His name was changed to Arthur when he emigrated with his family to live in New York in 1909. There he took numerous odd jobs, including working as an itinerant photographer and as an assistant to a commercial photographer. In 1924 he was hired as a dark-room technician by Acme Newspictures (later United Press International Photos). He left, however, in 1935 to become a freelance photographer. He worked at night and competed with the police to be first at the scene of a crime, selling his photographs to tabloids and photographic agencies. His photographs, centered around Manhattan police headquarters, were soon published by the Herald Tribune, World-Telegram, Daily News, New York Post, New York Journal American, Sun, and others.In 1957, after developing diabetes, he moved in with Wilma Wilcox, a Quaker social worker whom he had known since the 1940s, and who cared for him and then cared for his work. He traveled extensively in Europe until 1968, working for the Daily Mirror and on a variety of photography, film, lecture, and book projects. In 1968, Weegee died in New York on December 26, at the age of 69.Weegee can be seen as the American counterpart to Brassaï, who photographed Paris street scenes at night. Weegee’s themes of nudists, circus performers, freaks and street people were later taken up and developed by Diane Arbus in the early 1960s. In 1980 Weegee’s widow, Wilma Wilcox, Sidney Kaplan, Aaron Rose and Larry Silver formed The Weegee Portfolio Incorporated to create an exclusive collection of photographic prints made from Weegee’s original negatives. As a bequest, Wilma Wilcox donated the entire Weegee archive - 16,000 photographs and 7,000 negatives - to the International Center of Photography in New York. This 1993 gift became the source for several exhibitions and books include "Weegee's World" edited Miles Barth (1997) and "Unknown Weegee" edited by Cynthia Young (2006). The first and largest exhibition was the 329-image “Weegee’s World: Life, Death and the Human Drama,” brought forth in 1997. It was followed in 2002 by “Weegee’s Trick Photography,” a show of distorted or otherwise caricatured images, and four years later by “Unknown Weegee,” a survey that emphasized his more benign, post-tabloid photographs. In 2012 ICP opened another Weegee exhibition titled, "Murder is my Business". Also in 2012, exhibition called "Weegee: The Naked City", opened at Multimedia Art Museum, Moscow.(Source: en.wikipedia.org)
Benjamin Dimmitt
United States
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Lee Jeffries
United Kingdom
Lee Jeffries lives in Manchester in the United Kingdom. Close to the professional football circle, this artist starts to photograph sporting events. A chance meeting with a young homeless girl in the streets of London changes his artistic approach forever. Lee Jeffries recalls that, initially, he had stolen a photo from this young homeless girl huddled in a sleeping bag. The photographer knew that the young girl had noticed him but his first reaction was to leave. He says that something made him stay and go and discuss with the homeless girl. His perception about the homeless completely changes. They become the subject of his art. The models in his photographs are homeless people that he has met in Europe and in the United States: «Situations arose, and I made an effort to learn to get to know each of the subjects before asking their permission to do their portrait.» From then onwards, his photographs portray his convictions and his compassion to the world. "If you will forgive my indulgence, This work is most definitely NOT photojournalism. Nor is it intended as portraiture. It's religious or spiritual iconography. It's powerful stuff. Jeffries gave these people something more than personal dignity. He gave them a light in their eyes that depicts transcendence, a glimmer of light at the gates of Eden, so to speak. The clarity in their eyes is awesome to behold, as if God is somewhere in there. He has made these people into more than poor old broken homeless people lazily waiting for a handout from some urbane and thoughtful corporate agent. He infused them with light, not darkness. Even the blind guy has light pouring from his sightless eyes. I think Jeffries intended his art to honor these people, not pity them. He honors those people by giving their likenesses a greater meaning. He gives them a religious spiritual significance. He imbues them with the iconic soul of humanity. I think that's what he was trying to do, at least to some degree thereof." Source: www.yellowkorner.com Lee Jeffries leads a double life – as a full-time accountant near Manchester, and in his free time as an impassioned photographer of the homeless all over the world. A self-taught photographer who started out taking pictures of stock in a bike shop, his epiphany came in April 2008 when, on the eve of running the London Marathon, he snatched a long-lens image of a homeless girl huddling in a doorway, and felt compelled to apologize to her when she called him out for it. Their resulting conversation changed not only his approach to photography; it changed his life. Since that day Lee has been on a mission to raise awareness of – and funds for – the homeless. His work features street people from the UK, Europe and the US whom he gets to know by living rough with them, the relationship between them enabling him to capture a searing intimacy and authenticity in his portraits. He has published two critically acclaimed fund-raising books, Lost Angels and Homeless, worked with the Salvation Army on a major campaign, and donated the half-dozen cameras he's won in prestigious imaging competitions to charity. He estimates he's given thousands of pounds of his own money to help those he photographs. All this, and he's still 'an amateur'. Source: Nikon In-Frame Read our Exclusive Interview with Lee Jeffries
Platon (Antoniou)
United Kingdom
1968
Born in London in 1968, Platon was raised in the Greek Isles until his family returned to England in the 1970's. He attended St. Martin's School of Art and after receiving his BA with honors in Graphic Design, went on to receive an MA in Photography and Fine Art at the Royal College of Art. After working for British Vogue for several years, he was invited to NY to work for the late John Kennedy Jr. and his political magazine, 'George'. After shooting portraits for a range of international publications including Rolling Stone, the New York Times Magazine, Vanity Fair, Esquire, GQ and the Sunday Times Magazine, Platon developed a special relationship with Time magazine, producing over 20 covers. In 2007 Platon photographed Russian Premier Vladimir Putin for Time Magazine's Person Of The Year Cover. This image was awarded 1st prize at the World Press Photo Contest. In 2008 he signed a multi-year contract with the New Yorker. As the staff photographer, he has produced a series of large-scale photo essays, two of which won ASME Awards in 2009 and 2010. Platon's New Yorker portfolios have focused on many themes including President Obama's Inauguration, the U.S Military, portraits of world leaders and the Civil Rights Movement. The following year, Platon teamed up with the Human Rights Watch to help them celebrate those who fight for equality and justice in countries suppressed by political forces. These projects have highlighted human rights defenders from Burma as well as the leaders of the Egyptian revolution. Following his coverage of Burma, Platon photographed Aung San Suu Kyi for the cover of Time - days after her release from house arrest. In 2011, Platon was honored with a prestigious Peabody Award for a collaboration on the topic of Russia's Civil Society with The New Yorker Magazine and Human Rights Watch. Platon's first monograph 'Platon's Republic', was published in 2004 by Phaidon Press. To coincide with its publication, the work was exhibited internationally, in London at the ex-Saatchi Gallery as well as the Milk Gallery in New York. His second book, 'Power' - a collection of portraits of over 100 world leaders - was published in 2011 by Chronicle and following its success was selected by Apple to be released as an app. The book includes portraits of Barack Obama, Mahmoud Ahmedinejad, Dmitry Medvedev, Benjamin Netanyahu, Hugo Chavez, Mahmoud Abbas, Tony Blair, Robert Mugabe, Silvio Berlusconi, and Muammar Qaddafi. In recent years, public speaking has progressively played a major role in Platon's career as communicator and storyteller. He has been invited to be a keynote speaker at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Yale, the London School of Economics, the National Portrait Gallery in London and the International Center of Photography in NY. He has also appeared on a range of television media including Charlie Rose (PBS), Morning Joe (MSNBC), Fareed Zakaria's GPS (CNN) and the BBC World News. Between 2011-2013, Platon's work has been exhibited in galleries both domestically and abroad. He has exhibited in New York at the Matthew Marks Gallery and the Howard Greenberg Gallery, as well as internationally at the Colette Gallery in Paris, France. The New York Historical Society also exhibited a solo show of Platon's Civil Rights photographs, which remain as part of the museum's permanent collection. Other permanent collections holding Platon's photography include The Florida Museum of Photographic Arts in Tampa, Florida and The Westlicht Museum for Photography in Vienna, Austria. Platon's advertising credits include the United Nations Foundation, Credit Suisse Bank, Exxon Mobil, Diesel, the Wall Street Journal, Motorola, Nike, Converse, Verizon, Vittel, Levi's, IBM, Rolex, Ray-Ban, Tanqueray, Kenneth Cole, Issey Miyake, Moschino, Timex and Bertelsmann among others. Platon lives in New York with his wife, daughter and son. (Source: www.platonphoto.com)
Filippo Venturi
Filippo Venturi is an Italian documentary photographer working on editorial, corporate, commercial assignments and personal projects. His works have been published in different newspapers and magazines such as The Washington Post, Financial Times, Vanity Fair, Internazionale, La Stampa, Geo, Marie Claire, Die Zeit, Gente, D di Repubblica, Io Donna/Corriere della Sera. He cooperates with several agencies in Italy and abroad for advertisement projects. He also pursues many personal stories and projects on the critical issues that he finds interesting. In 2016 his work, "Made in Korea" about South Korea, has been hosted at the Italian Center for Fine Art Photography in Bibbiena, at Modena's Foro Boario as New Talent selected by the Modena Foundation Photography, at Rome's Museum of Contemporary Art (MACRO) as selected Emerging Talent and at Somerset House in London by the Sony World Photography Awards. In 2017 he was the photographer sent by Vanity Fair in North Korea. In 2018 he is Testimonial Photographer for Fujifilm.I work as a multi-disciplinary photographic artist specialising in conceptual documentary and reportage Photography. I look at identity, displacement and the human condition. I also work as a photojournalist, documentary filmmaker and freelance commercial photographer.About Korean Dream Between 1905 and 1945 Korea was dominated by the Japanese, thus becoming a colony of the Empire. In 1945, after Japan's defeat, Korea was involved in the Cold War and became an object of interest for the USA, the URSS and lately for China as well. This brought to the division of the country in two along the 38th parallel and to the Korean War between 1950 and 1953. On the 27th of July of 1953, an armistice was signed but a declaration of peace never followed, leaving the country in a permanent state of conflict. North Korea is officially a socialist State with formal elections but in fact, it is a totalitarian dictatorship based on the cult of the Kim dynasty, practically an absolute monarchy. Since 1948 the country was ruled by Kim Il-Sung, the "Great Leader"; in 1994 his son, Kim Jong-II the "Dear Leader" succeeded him and until in 2011 Kim Jong-Un, his son, the "Brilliant Comrade" became Supreme Leader. North Korea is one of the most secluded countries in the world, we know little about it and the citizens' rights are subdued to the country's needs. Citizens have no freedom of speech, media are strictly controlled, you can travel only with authorization and it is not allowed to leave the country. The few foreign travellers who get the visa can travel the country only with authorized Korean guides, who have also the task of controlling, censoring and finding spies. Pyongyang, the capital, is the centre of all the resources and the country's ambition to boast a strong and modern façade (the rest of North Korea is composed of countryside, rice-fields and villages usually with no water, electricity or gas). The continuous and incessant propaganda against the USA portraits the South Korean population as a victim of the American invasion; young generations live in a constant alert state as if the USA could attack any day. At the same time, the propaganda aims at instilling a great sense of pride for the country's technical progression, fueled by the Supreme Leader and culminating in the atomic bomb and the subsequent tests. Pyongyang youngsters have been educated to be learned and knowledgeable people, especially in the scientific field, to foster the development of armaments and technology, chasing the dream of reuniting Korea in a whole and free state.
Robert Doisneau
France
1912 | † 1994
Born in April 1912 in an upper middle class family, in the Parisian suburbs (Gentilly), Robert Doisneau started showing an immoderate interest in the arts at a very early age. Robert Doisneau lost his parents at an early age and was raised by an unloving aunt. Aged 14, he enroled at the Ecole Estienne a craft school where he graduated in 1929 with diplomas in engraving and lithography. A year later, he started working for « Atelier Ullmann » as a publicity photographer. In 1931, Robert Doisneau met his future wife Pierrette Chaumaison, with whom he will have three children and also started working as an assistant for modernist photographer, André Vigneau. André Vigneau will introduce Robert Doisneau to a « new objectivity in Photography ». In 1932, Robert Doisneau sold his first photographic story to Excelsior magazine. In 1934, car manufacturer Renault hired Robert Doisneau as an industrial photographer in the Boulogne Billancourt factory. He was fired in 1939 as he was consistantly late. Without a job, Robert Doisneau became a freelance photographer trying to earn his living in advertising, engraving and in the postcard industry. Shortly before WWII, Robert Doisneau was hired by Charles Rado, founder of the Rapho Agency. His first photographic report on canoeing in Dordogne was abruptly interrupted by the war declaration. Drafted into the French army as soldier and photographer he was relieved from duty in 1940. Until the end of the war, he used his skills to forge passports and identification papers for the French Resistance. After the war, Robert Doisneau became a freelance photographer and rejoined with the Rapho agency (1946). It is probably at this time that mutual influence with Jacques-Henri Lartigue found its origin. He started producing numerous photographic stories on various subjects: Parisian news, popular Paris, foreign countries (USSR, United-States...). Some of his stories will be published in prestigious magazines, LIFE, PARIS MATCH, REALITES... In 1947, Robert Doisneau met Robert Giraud with whom he will have a life long friendship and a fruitful collaboration. Doisneau will publish more than 30 albums such as “La Banlieue de Paris” (The suburbs of Paris, Seghers 1949) with texts written by French Author Blaise Cendrars. From 1948 to 1953, Robert Doisneau also worked for Vogue Magazine as a fashion photographer. It is also at that time that he joined Group XV and participated alongside Rene Jacques, Willy Ronis and Pierre Jahan in promoting photography and its heritage preservation. In 1950, Robert Doisneau created his most recognizable work, le Baiser de l’Hôtel de Ville for Life magazine. Although Doisneau’s most recognized work dates from the 1950’s and old style magazine interest was declining in Europe in the early 1970’s, Doisneau continued to produce children’s books, advertising photography and celebrity portraits. His talent as a photographer has been rewarded on numerous occasions: Kodak prize 1947 Niepce Prize recipient in 1956 In 1960, he held his first solo exhibition in Chicago (Museum of Modern Art) In 1975 he is the guest of honour of les “Rencontres d’Arles” Grand prix National de la Photographie 1983 Balzac Prize recipient 1986 In 1991, the Royal Photographic Society awarded Robert Doisneau an Honorary Fellowship (HonFRPS) Robert Doisneau died in 1994, six months after his wife. He is buried alongside her in Raizeux.
Matthew O’Brien
United States
Matthew James O’Brien is a photographer from San Francisco whose work celebrates humanity and the natural world. He studied zoology at the University of California at Berkeley. His understanding of the natural world informs his photography and his understanding of humanity. Across all of his work, regardless of the medium, there is one unifying theme— finding beauty, in any circumstance. That could be in the inner-city schools of Oakland, rural Sinaloa, Mexico caught up in narco violence, the dying ranching community across the bay from San Francisco, or war-ravaged Colombia. His work has been exhibited and collected by various institutions including the Library of Congress, the Houston Museum of Fine Arts, the California Museum of Photography, the Fries Museum (Netherlands), the Art Science Museum (Singapore) and el Museo de Arte Moderno de Cartagena (Colombia). Among the awards he has received are a Mother Jones International Fund for Documentary Photography Award, a Community Heritage Grant from the California Council for the Humanities, and a Fulbright Fellowship. He was a Creative Uses Consultant for Polaroid, and has worked extensively with Polaroid films, including No Dar Papaya, his eleven-year exploration of Colombia, which became a book (Icono Editorial/Placer Press). O’Brien also works with video, and teaches photography in English and Spanish. He has taught at UC Berkeley, the Universidad de Antioquia and the Universidad de Medellín in Colombia, among other places. His work has appeared in publications from The Washington Post to Camera Arts. His favorite clients to work with are NGO’s that work to make the world a better place.www.nodarpapaya.com
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