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Steve Schapiro
Steve Schapiro Moscow Russia 2012
Steve Schapiro
Steve Schapiro

Steve Schapiro

Country: United States
Birth: 1934 | Death: 2022

Steve Schapiro discovered photography at the age of nine at summer camp. Excited by the camera's potential, Schapiro spent the next decades prowling the streets of his native New York City trying to emulate the work of French photographer Henri Cartier Bresson, whom he greatly admired. His first formal education in photography came when he studied under the photojournalist W. Eugene Smith. Smith's influence on Schapiro was far-reaching. He taught him the technical skills he need to succeed as a photographer, but also informed his personal outlook and world-view. Schapiro's lifelong interest in social documentary, and his consistently empathetic portrayal of his subjects, is an outgrowth of his days spent with Smith and the development of a concerned humanistic approach to photography.

Beginning in 1961, Schapiro worked as a freelance photojournalist. His photographs have appeared internationally in the pages and on the covers of magazines, including Life, Look, Time, Newsweek, Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair, Sports Illustrated, People and Paris Match. During the decade of the 1960s in America, called the "golden age in photojournalism," Schapiro produced photo-essays on subjects as varied as narcotics addition, Easter in Harlem, the Apollo Theater, Haight-Ashbury, political protest, the presidential campaign of Robert Kennedy, poodles and presidents. A particularly poignant story about the lives of migrant workers in Arkansas, produced in 1961 for Jubilee and picked up by the New York Times Magazine, both informed readers about the migrant workers' difficult living conditions and brought about tangible change-the installation of electricity in their camps.

An activist as well as documentarian, Schapiro covered many stories related the Civil Rights movement, including the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, the push for voter registration and the Selma to Montgomery march. Called by Life to Memphis after Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination, Schapiro produced some of the most iconic images of that tragic event.

In the 1970s, as picture magazines like Life folded, Schapiro shifted attention to film. With major motion picture companies as his clients, Schapiro produced advertising materials, publicity stills and posters for films as varied as the Godfather, the Way We Were, Taxi Driver, Midnight Cowboy, Rambo, Risky Business and Billy Madison. He also collaborated on projects with musicians, such as Barbra Streisand and David Bowie, for record covers and related art.

Schapiro's photographs have been widely reproduced in magazines and books related to American cultural history from the 1960s forward, civil rights, and motion picture film. Monographs of Schapiro's work include American Edge (2000); a book about the spirit of the turbulent decade of the 1960s in America, and Schapiro's Heroes (2007), which offers long intimate profiles of ten iconic figures: Muhammad Ali, Andy Warhol, Martin Luther King Jr., Robert Kennedy, Ray Charles, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, James Baldwin, Samuel Beckett, Barbra Streisand and Truman Capote. Schapiro's Heroes was the winner of an Art Directors Club Cube Award. Taschen released The Godfather Family Album: Photographs by Steve Schapiro in 2008, followed by Taxi Driver (2010), both initially in signed limited editions. This was followed by Then And Now (2012), Bliss, about the changing Hippie Generation (2015), BOWIE (2016), Mercicordia (20126) an amazing facility for people with developmental problems, and in 2017 books about Muhammad Ali and Taschen's The Fire Next Time with James Baldwin's text and Schapiro's Civil Rights photos from 1963 to 1968.

Since the Metropolitan Museum of Art's seminal 1969 exhibition, Harlem on my Mind, which included a number of his images, Schapiro's photographs have appeared in museum and gallery exhibitions world-wide. The High Museum of Art's Road to Freedom, which traveled widely in the United States, includes numerous of his photographs from the civil rights movement and Martin Luther King Jr. Recent one-man shows have been mounted in Los Angeles, London, Santa Fe, Amsterdam, Paris. And Berlin. Steve has had large museum retrospective exhibitions in the United States, Spain, Russia, and Germany.

Schapiro continues to work in a documentary vein. His recent series' of photographs have been about India, Music Festivals, and Black Lives Matter.

Schapiro's work is represented in many private and public collections, including the Smithsonian Museum, the High Museum of Art, the New York Metropolitan Museum and the Getty Museum. He has just Received the James Joyce Award and fellowship to University College in Dublin/ Previous recipients included Bishop Tutu, Jesse Jackson and J.K. Rowling

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More Great Photographers To Discover

Giles Duley
United Kingdom
1971
Giles Duley was born in 1971 in London. After 10 years as an editorial photographer in the fashion and music industries in both the US and Europe, Duley now focuses his work on humanitarian projects. Working with well respected charities such as Medecins sans Frontiers, IOM and UNHCR to highlight lesser known stories deserving of public attention and action. Although documenting challenging, and at times, horrific situations, Duley captures the strength of those who fight their adversity rather than succumb. His photographs draw the viewer to the subject, creating intimacy and empathy for lives differing from ours only in circumstance.In 2011, whilst on patrol with 75th Cavalry Regiment, United States Army in Afghanistan, Duley stepped on an improvised explosive device. He was severely injured, losing both legs and an arm.Source: www.gilesduley.com Artist Statement "In 2011 I was injured whilst working as a photographer in Afghanistan. I spent the next 46 days of my recovery fighting for my life in intensive care. During that period, I was often awake for days, unable to move or communicate as I was incubated and my remaining shattered hand was in a cast. My mind wandered, drifting on a mixture of morphine, exhaustion and fear and so battling to keep my sanity and to pass the dragging hours I’d challenge myself with mental exercises. My favourite was thinking of portraits I wished I could do, creating a list of the 100 people I most wanted to photograph. My first love in photography was portraiture. I love telling someone’s story through an image, trying to capture some essence of character in a frozen moment. For ten years I worked as a portrait photographer before cynicism with celebrity culture and a desire to document humanitarian issues took me in a different direction. I had always hoped to return to portraiture in time. Lying there, trapped in my body, I imagined all the portraits I wanted to take, aware that now I’d probably never get the chance. This wasn’t just a list of heroes or inspirations; more a collection of people who had shaped my cultural identity or whose large personas drew me in. Ben Okri whose writing first opened my eyes to Africa and storytelling; Tom Waits with his gnarled voice; Natalie Portman, hypnotic in the last film I’d seen before my accident; Don McCullin who inspired me to first pick up the camera. The list grew in my mind; eclectic, eccentric characters I wished I’d captured in frame. I resolved that if by some chance I made it through, I’d contact the names on my list and ask them to sit for a portrait. I would not waste my second chance at life. I have no idea where this project will lead, who will say yes, who will say no, or what I will learn about the people I meet and about myself. I’m aware I’ll face practical difficulties brought on by my injuries and the challenges of working within a celebrity culture, but through this journey I hope to develop my abilities in portraiture, to explore my own cultural identity and broaden my understanding of photography. Most importantly to fully regain my life and identity post accident, with more than a little fun along the way! As for the list? From PJ Harvey to Dead Prez, from Samantha Morton to Jean Paul Belmondo, the names on the list are united by a common trait. When I thought I was going to die and when I had to come to terms with my new life, one thing kept me going, my photography. It is my lifeblood. The sitters for my portraits may all be famous, but I believe they have become that because of what they do, not because they craved celebrity. I believe for each one their craft is also their lifeblood. So here I am. It’s taken two years, 30 operations and a long rehabilitation, but I’m ready to start. 100 Portraits Before I Die: A Photographers Odyssey..."
Henry Horenstein
United States
1947
Born in Massachusetts in 1947, Henry Horenstein was on a path to becoming a historian when he discovered photography. Captivated by the work of Robert Frank and Danny Lyon, Horenstein entered the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) where he studied with Harry Callahan and Aaron Siskind. After completing his MFA at RISD in 1973, Horenstein's first major project was a documentary survey of the people and character of country music. As a long-time fan, Horenstein recognized that the culture of country music was changing, losing the homey, down-to-earth character of "hillbilly" music, and adopting the slicker nature of contemporary country music. His goal was to preserve a vanishing culture by capturing it in photographs, and for nearly a decade, he traveled throughout the United States, documenting the artists and audiences at honky-tonk bars, outdoor festivals, and community dances. The body of work that Horenstein created (published in 2003 as Honky Tonk) is a remarkable portrait of a distinct period in American cultural history. Some of Horenstein's later work has followed a similar theme, creating documentary portraits of distinct American sub-cultures, such as the worlds of horse racing, boxing clubs, and baseball. In recent years, Horenstein has also developed an extensive body of work that combines elements of portraiture, abstraction, clinical documentation, and landscape photography. Working with animals as well as human subjects, Horenstein creates compelling and frequently ambiguous images that explore the patterns, textures and geography of skin, scales and hair. Mixing the exotic and the ordinary, and making it difficult to tell which is which, Horenstein causes the viewer to pause and look closely. In doing so, we are made to re-examine ourselves as well as the world around us. Horenstein's work has been exhibited in galleries and museums both nationally and internationally, including the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History, Washington, D.C.; the International Museum of Photography, George Eastman House, Rochester, New York; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; and Fabrik der Kunste, Hamburg, Germany. Photographs by Henry Horenstein can be found in many public and private collections including the Library of Congress, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, Georgia. Horenstein is the author of over 30 books including several monographs and a series of highly successful photography textbooks that have been used by hundreds of thousands of students around the country. Horenstein currently lives in Boston and is a professor of photography at RISD.
Artur Nikodem
Austria
1870 | † 1940
Artur Nikodem (1870-1940) was born in Trent, Austria. As a young man, Nikodem studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich, Milan and Florence. He then served in the Austrian Navy before settling briefly in Paris, where he was strongly influenced by the works of Monet and Cezanne. Awestruck by the ability of pigment to rearrange and restructure life on canvas, Nikodem began his endeavors as a painter. His burgeoning artistic career was delayed by military service during World War I. After the war, Nikodem returned to his home in Innsbruck where he began work as a freelance artist. He agreed to test cameras and film for a friend who sold photographic supplies, privately pursuing this means of artistic expression. The modest size and intimate subject matter of these photographs provides a window into the artist's life and mind. After a series of successful international exhibitions, Nikodem emerged as a spokesman for Tyrolean artists. As Nikodem grew older, the changing political climate resulted in his paintings being outlawed in Germany and part of the collection in Nuremberg was destroyed. Unable to secure a teaching position at the Viennese Academy, Nikodem withdrew from public life and lived in seclusion with his wife, Barbara Hoyer, until his death in 1940. Nikodem's photographs were not exhibited or discussed outside of the studio until after his death. Although he worked as a painter for the bulk of his artistic career, he was also a prolific photographer, documenting the small towns and pastoral beauty of the Austrian countryside as well as the women in his life. Nikodem captures these women, his models and lovers, including Gunda Wiese - who died of tuberculosis - and his wife Barbara Hoyer. These sensual portraits portray the erotic tension between the older artist and his much younger subjects. Artur Nikodem's portraits have invited comparison to the paintings of Egon Schiele and the series of photographs by Alfred Stieglitz of Georgia O'Keefe, similarly characterized by both playful experimentation and somber meditation. Source: Robert Mann Gallery
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