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Mike Magers
David Burnett, Contact Press Images
Mike Magers
Mike Magers

Mike Magers

Country: United States
Birth: 1976

Michael Magers is a documentary photographer and journalist based in New York City. He is a frequent collaborator with the highly acclaimed team at Roads & Kingdoms and served as the lead photographer on their award-winning books, Rice Noodle Fish and Grape Olive Pig (as well as contributing to the 3rd book in the series Pasta Pane Vino) published by Harper Collins/Anthony Bourdain.

His images are exhibited both internationally and in the U.S. and have appeared in a wide range of digital and print publications including TIME, Smithsonian, Vogue Italia, Huck Magazine, Outside, The California Sunday Magazine, CNN's Explore Parts Unknown, Saveur, New York Times - T Magazine (Instagram Takeover), Grantland, Barron's, The Guardian.com, and L'oeil de la Photographie.

Michael's work documenting craftsmanship in Japan was named a 2016 Critical Mass Finalist.

About Independent Mysteries
Independent Mysteries (pub. November 2019) is the first monograph from documentary photographer Michael Magers. In it, Magers exposes the persistent tension between connection and disconnection -- a feeling of "intimate distance" -- he grappled with while traveling to places like Japan, Haiti, and Cuba for various assignments and personal projects. Drawing on nearly a decade of work, each image can be viewed as a film-still, with little context other than light brushes of human contact, fleeting intimacy, solitude and vulnerability. Every one of the grainy, black-and-white photographs in this book carries with it a secret to be discovered and explored.

Read More about Independent Mysteries Book
 

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Alain Laboile
France
1968
I was born on the 1st of May, 1968, in Bordeaux. After an half-hearted schooling, I live of odd jobs until 1990, the year I met Anne. It was the time of my opening to art.I accompanied Anne, student in Art History, to her lectures.It is in the darkness of the crowded amphitheatres that I witnessed heatedly the dissection of the Italian Renaissance artworks. Drawing being my ally since childhood, I can let myself drift into this third dimension by making plaster portaits in a corner of the studio we share. Then came, through a random reading, my fascination for insects. Jean-Henri Fabres's Souvenirs entomologiques will inspire me and accompany me for several years.Plaster and stone slowly fade away to let the rusty iron turn into shaggy insects.On the top of a hill near Bordeaux ,in Gironde, our house fills up with kids.My activity is taking off, and I need to take some photos of my sculptures. 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Micaela Mau
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1986
Micaela Mau is a German-Italian artist. She has studied visual communication at the Istituto Europeo di Design in Rome and at the School of Visual Arts in New York as well as Foreign Languages and Literature at the Università degli Studi Roma Tre. While studying and working abroad in Tokyo, Frankfurt, and London she developed an interest in photography, fascinated by the ambiguous relationship between photographic image and reality. She currently lives and works in Florence, Italy. Statement "To me photography is not only a tool to capture fleeting impressions in time and share what caught my attention, but also, and above all, a means of interpreting and reinterpreting reality. My photographic work comprises abstract images that put the bond between photographic reproduction and its referent to the test, often making the original subject almost indistinguishable. Alongside these works I develop more realistic projects concerning our perception of the world and how it is conveyed through photography. Lately I have started to work with analog media, reflecting on the materiality of photographs and negatives, rather than considering them mere image supports. My work is founded on the belief that there is no such thing as an objective photograph. Photography cannot depict reality accurately since the human element – intrinsically fallible and predisposed to subjective perception – pervades all stages of photographic development. Furthermore, the laws of physics, optics and chemistry, pose technical limitations, constraining the medium’s ability to accurately record reality. Last but not least, there’s chance, an unpredictable force capable of influencing the best planned outcomes. Photography, therefore, cannot but be a medium of subjective expression. For this reason I try to embrace the limitations at hand and to make them an integral part of my work." -- Micaela Mau
Kristina Lerner
Russia
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Kristina Lerner(b. 1986) was born and raised in Moscow, Russia. In 2008 she graduated from Russian New University, majoring in World Culture. A few years later she moved to St. Petersburg, where she still lives and works as a freelance photographer. She also leads photo workshops in St. Petersburg photography schools.Kristina grew up in a creative family. Father was a musician and her mother worked as a model. So she was in love with art since childhood. At age 10 she began studying painting, which eventually led her to photography. Now Kristina Lerner does not divide her work into genres. She photographed the streets, people, nature and expressing herself in art photography.That's what she says about her works: "The main thing for me - is to feel the point of coincidence of external and internal and to be able to catch it in time and bring in photography. Every moment has it's own feeling and it’s own sound. No matter what I photograph: a portrait or the city’s scene - the picture should be filled with emotion and atmosphere of this unique second."Kristina Lerner has been photographing since 2008. She had many of her work published in international photography magazines and books, including Eyemazing New Collectible Art Photography - that brought together a selection of the best work published in Eyemazing magazine over the last ten years. Kristina took part in numerous art exhibitions and festivals, and in 2011 she became a finalist of the international Vilnius Photo Circle photography festival.
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Homai Vyarawalla, India's first woman photojournalist, is best known for documenting the country's transition from a British colony to a newly independent nation. Vyarawalla was born on 9 December 1913 in the western Indian state of Gujarat. Her family belonged to India's tiny but influential Parsi community. She spent much of her childhood on the move because her father was an actor in a travelling theatre group. But the family soon moved to Mumbai (then Bombay), where she attended the JJ School of Art. She was in college when she met Manekshaw Vyarawalla, a freelance photographer, who she would later marry. It was he who introduced her to photography. She received her first assignment - to photograph a picnic - while she was still in college. It was published by a local newspaper, and soon she started to pick up more freelance assignments. Vyarawalla began to draw more attention after her photographs of life in Mumbai were published in The Illustrated Weekly of India magazine. The Vyarawallas moved to Delhi in 1942 after they were hired to work as photographers for the British Information Service. Homai Vyarawalla, one of few female photojournalists working at the time in Delhi, was often seen cycling through the capital with her camera strapped to her back. She took her most iconic images, however, after India became independent - from the departure of the British from India, to the funerals of Mahatma Gandhi and former prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru. Homai Vyarawalla also photographed most prominent independence leaders. But she said in an interview that her biggest regret was that she missed photographing the meeting where Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated. She was on her way to attend it when her husband called her back for some other work. Her work also includes candid, close-up photographs of celebrities and dignitaries who visited India in the years following independence, including China's first prime minister Zhou Enlai, Vietnamese leader Ho Chi Minh, Queen Elizabeth II and US President John F Kennedy. Vyarawalla photographed many famous people but Mr Nehru figures most prominently in her work as her "favourite subject". She said in an interview that when Mr Nehru died she "cried, hiding my face from other photographers". Ms Vyarawalla clicked her last picture in 1970, retiring after a four-decade-long career. She left Delhi after her husband died in 1969 and moved to Gujarat. She was awarded India's second highest civilian honour, the Padma Vibhushan, in 2011. She died on 16 January 2012 at the age of 92.Source: BBC
Michael Nguyen
Germany
1958
Michael Nguyen is a photo artist and documentary photographer living near Munich, Germany. He takes photographs since 1988. He has been living in Munich since 2007 and moved to Gauting near Munich in 2015. After a long break in the cultural sector and after a sickness he has dedicated himself 2018 entirely to art again. He is an artist and a photographic poet who moves away from the mainstream, at the same time blurs genres. Most of the time, he focuses on small, ordinary things but through the subjective lens, he give them new perspectives, a new soul. I found my way to photography when I was a journalist for art and culture. One of my main subjects was "Greece", and there was a lot to do with photography. Then, in close cooperation with Dr. Matthias Harder (now Director of the Helmut Newton Foundation, Berlin), we laid the foundation for understanding the photographs of Herbert List and Walter Hege. Since then, photography has opened up a whole new world to me. Michael Nguyen roamed various cities in Bavaria during the Corona pandemic. A focus of his works since COVID-19 are urban landscapes as well as urban spaces in different cities. Urban spaces can all enrich a life between buildings. Since Covid-19, social interaction in the Urban landscapes with their spaces has lain fallow. Michael Nguyen conveys this sensitively in his mostly "deserted pictures“. Nguyen enters the motifs of his urban landscapes with a great deal of empathy. He makes the city, urban landscapes and architecture visible and documents them for posterity. With his artistic documentary photography he refers to a reality that we all know, but interprets this reality with his images. Everywhere I go, my eyes and senses are in motion. With my camera I capture little things that we often don't notice in everyday life. At the BIFA Budapest International Foto Awards 2020 his artwork "Antimatter" was awarded in December 2020 with Gold. In addition to his artistic activities, Michael Nguyen is in Editor-in-chief of the online magazine for photography and art: Tagree. End of March 2021 Michael Nguyen is nominated for the Tassilo Culture Prize of the Süddeutsche Zeitung. Süddeutsche Zeitung (SZ) is a German national daily newspaper. It is published in Munich. SZ is the second largest daily newspaper in Germany (as of October 2020). Promoting the cultural sector in the Munich area and motivating creative artists (these are the goals of the Tassilo Culture Prize), which the Süddeutsche Zeitung is offering for the eleventh time this year. The SZ Prize is named after the Bavarian Duke Tassilo. Statement Our head is round so that thinking can change direction - a sentence by the writer and artist Francis Picabia, who inspired me as a young man interested in art and the art scene. Art broadened my perspectives and saved my soul. In the 1980s and 1990s I was a journalist, poet, photographer and event manager. After almost two decades, I found my way back to art in the dark times of my life in early 2018. Yes, once again art has saved my soul. Everywhere I go, my eyes and senses are in motion. With my camera I capture little things that we often don't notice in everyday life. The power of design and the contradictions between art and life Munich's most colorful shopping center facade by Prof. Dr. Rainer Funke When will the containers be loaded? Such a question comes to mind when approaching the shopping mall built in 2008 from a distance. But stop! The intense colors of the seemingly stacked cubes and their sophisticated composition immediately give rise to other associations. As if someone had created a special order out of building blocks. One wonders whether this is already the perfect final state, as one tries to create with the Magic Cube, for example. The variety of combinations seems too great for this. Both that of the colors and that of the surface structures. Added to this are the manifold reflections and the astonishing visual dynamics. One does not seem to move past the building itself, but its facades begin to run, to turn, to flow. One is almost reminded of the dancing of the facades and interiors of baroque courtly buildings in downtown Munich. Instead of baroque figurativeness, however, here it is geometry. The closer one gets, the more details become visible. No, these are neither containers nor building blocks. The prismatic shape of the colored and reflective metal plates gives the building shell pronounced plasticity. One would not have expected so much sophistication from a shopping center, especially not here, where Munich hardly has anything typically Munich anymore and is fraying into the landscape. Whether red voluptuousness with bold blue, pastel sweetness, noble gold, lush, or pale green: the overwhelming power of color is, of course, the basic theme of the series of images, always in powerfully soaring, a contrast-rich vertical sequence of seemingly endless parallels. Michael Nguyen's imposing photographs take us very close to this color organ. They make us stand at attention on the parade ground of the verticals. Especially the severity of the composition in detail becomes a theme. This gesture appears once again mercilessly emphasized by Nguyen's camera, as refractions and disturbances emerge from close up. Two framed, square blue lockers, for instance, according to their dimensions probably placed on a blue ground with metallic fittings not colored blue - the attempt to hide them has failed. Nguyen places them in the center. The wonderful striped pattern is disturbed in this way, less perfect and also a bit more lifelike. We experience something similar with the door locks (here the hinges additionally form a counter-rotating rhythm), the intercom, and the stickers on two other images. As a photographer, Michael Nguyen is as uninhibitedly consistent as the facades depicted want to be but cannot be in the storm of life and entropy. The mirrored surfaces evoke almost poetic associations when nature and urban space gently and carefully combine in them (in one picture, the soft shapes of the snow remains are added). Here, too, Nguyen is provocative. One picture is intended to irritate through eight seemingly irregular horizontal cuts in the surrounding colour surfaces. And, of course, dirt and trash. Such a design focused on geometric color perfection is highly moralistic. It points its moral finger in full size at the viewers, admonishing us not to disturb order, to preserve perfection and cleanliness. When we then perceive small discarded things and in addition a dirty floor or even dirty facade surfaces, it hits us with full force. At the same time, we are referred to the particularity and artistic rapture of the facade. Even a traffic sign, placed somewhat askew and in turn, defaced with remnants of a sticker, emphasizes the distance of the art object from life. Even the clash of different grid dimensions of the facade strips and the paving of the sidewalk draws attention and distances. Here nothing has grown out of the ground, where it has been landed. This impression is further emphasized by the filigree grid structure of the surfaces pointing to the left. If then still objects stand before the work of art, like a somewhat demolished container for the clothes collection, an ashtray (nevertheless in strict vertical-orthogonal high-grade steel form and exactly aligned), or admittedly color-coordinated garbage can one wished a ban mile for objects around the building. People appear in two photos. They make us breathe a sigh of relief: yes, the whole thing is made for people. The two people in a picture, shot somewhat voyeuristically behind a lamppost, could, however, already be a bit tighter, more upright, and perhaps defilade past the facade in step! The man with his shopping cart, on the other hand, seems to want to save himself from the austerity of the backdrop into the organic world of the leafy settlement. In an impressive way, Michael Nguyen presents us with this photo series of a building as a work of art and thus points us to the power of design but also to the contradictions between art and life. Prof. Dr. Rainer Funke researches and publishes on design-theoretical issues from a semiotic, cultural-theoretical and philosophical perspective and works as a design consultant for companies. He teaches design theory at the Potsdam University of Applied Sciences. After studying philosophy at Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, he earned his doctorate in semiotics and subsequently worked in design-theoretical research at Burg Giebichenstein - University of Art and Design Halle. In 1992, he was appointed to Potsdam as the founding dean of the Department of Design. Rainer Funke was the owner of a design agency, chairman of the board of the Brandenburg Design Center, and visiting professor at the University of Art and Industrial Design Linz. Design theory is supposed to motivate in an enlightening way by conveying methods for the analysis of design, especially for the manifold relations between perceptible forms of artifacts and their meanings in the context of the process of use. Design theory explicates modes of action and historically founded developmental relationships of design and their various influencing factors. (Prof. Dr. Rainer Funke) Exclusive Interview with Michael Nguyen
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