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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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Svetlin Yosifov
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C.E. Morse
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It teaches you to look, understand and observe rather then just walk away.All about Gautam Narang:AAP: When did you realize you wanted to be a photographer?Well after high school, I pretty much knew that is something that Iíve wanted to do, and itís pretty much all that Iíve pictured myself doing. Iíve tried office jobs, but they usually donít work, for example being an assistant was not a great experience. Order wold be forgotten and iím not a office type or person, the stress kills me. So iíve always gratiated to something creative.AAP: Where did you study photography?I studied at HND Photography at City and islington. Was the youngest student, out of the program my closet friend was Robert Harper who does amazing fashion photography. We used to chill and take pictures, it was really nice experience. Education to me, especially in the arts isnít what iíve expected it to be. The real learning happens when your out of school, and making friends with like minded pepole, finding who you are, I know it sounds like a really simple question, but you get asked ďWho are you? What is your favorite movie? Favorite Artist and etc.Ē These days things are getting competitive and to really stand out is to have strong connections with people. AAP:Do you have a mentor?Yes, the teacher at my school. He was in 60ís and was my best friend, he taught me a lot on business, being an artist, encouraged me, let me use his studio and gave experience in the studio with while doing still life photography. He would also make all his own equipment, was really cool learning from him. My other mentor was Jasper James, he introduced me to style. He showed me that movies could be arty, before that I didnít really watch any arty stuff. We also traveled around the UK on projects and that was a lot of fun. AAP: How long have you been a photographer?12 years.AAP: Do you remember your first shot? What was it?They were pictures of cannel boats, in England I used to live near a cannel.AAP: What or who inspires you?Well Edward Hooper is a great inspiration. His images feel like movie scenes, they have such a powerful mood to them. Artist have always inspired me. William Eggleston is someone would really inspires me.AAP: How could you describe your style?As simple and bold. Iím a huge fan of bold colors and like to keep things simple.AAP: What kind of gear do you use? Camera, lens, digital, film?I use the Canon 5D Mark II and my iPhone 4, itís great, you can take it anywhere and pepole arenít imitated by it, you look like a tourist. The iPhone has a look, in 20 years when we have images that are so sharp that you canít tell if your looking at something real. Images from are primitive cameras and mobile devices will be called ďRetroĒ they come with a time stamp, the actually medium is a time capsule. Itís not about the quality, itís about the message, that will last longer.AAP: Do you spend a lot of time editing your images?Iím not a fan of editing, iíve never liked it, only the darkroom.AAP: Favorite(s) photographer(s)?Steve McCurry, Willam Eggleston, Dorothea Lange. AAP: What advice would you give a young photographer?Go out and find your own vision, and all this likes and things mean nothing. Itís hard putting yourself out there, and pepole donít usually respond. You start to want to appeal to others and worry if you posting to much. Do it for yourself, who cares about all this fame? Who knows if these websites will be around, this data? One day, you might be recognized.AAP: What mistake should a young photographer avoid?Donít point fingers, point them at yourself first. Donít blame others, really look at yourself first.AAP: An idea, a sentence, a project you would like to share?My work is constantly changing and I like that. To keep evolving you need to keep changing.AAP: Your best memory has a photographer?Working on location in India, working in a old Indian palace, documenting Indian folk singers. Itís an experience the kings once enjoyed.AAP: Your worst souvenir has a photographer?A broken camera lens.AAP: If you could have taken the photographs of someone else who would it be?Steve McCurry he has my dream jobAAP: Anything else you would like to share?Iím into film making now, really want to be a DOP or camera operator. Currently iím based in Toronto.
Ellen Auerbach
Germany
1906 | † 2004
Ellen Auerbach (1906-2004) was born Ellen Rosenburg in Karlsruhe, Germany. After sculpture courses in Karlsruhe and Stuttgart, she studied photography with Walter Peterhans at the Bauhaus school in Berlin. In 1929, she founded ringl+pit, an advertising and portrait studio, with her friend Grete Stern. The unusual title was derived from the nicknames they used as children. When Hitler rose to power, Auerbach emigrated wth her future husband to Tel Aviv. There she opened a children's portrait studio named Ishon. Following the outbreak of the Abyssinian War, Auerbach moved to London, where she was reunited with Grete Stern. Together they worked on a series of portraits of Bertolt Brecht. By 1937, Ellen and Walter Auerbach had married and moved to the United States, eventually settling in New York City. Ellen began to experiment with new photographic techniques, worked for Time and Columbia Masterworks on a freelance basis, and taught photography at a junior college. In 1955 Auerbach traveled to Mexico with Eliot Porter and the two produced a powerful body of work documenting Mexican churches. The series, printed primarily in color, explores the religious traditions and ceremonial icons of a fading era in Mexican religious history. Auerbach continued to travel and photograph extensively. At the age of sixty, she began a second career as a child therapist. Ellen Auerbach's travels provided her with a kaleidoscope of people and places through which to develop her personal visual language. She believed that photography allows for the use of a metaphorical "third eye" which allows the artist to capture not only what exists on the surface of an image, but also to capture the essence of the subject that lies beneath that surface. Source: Robert Mann Gallery
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