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Matthew Portch
Matthew Portch
Matthew Portch

Matthew Portch

Country: United Kingdom
Birth: 1970

I was born and raised in Bristol, England through the '70s and '80s in a typical suburb.
As a child, television and movies were my favourite distraction, especially anything from the United States. The backdrop of the North American scenery felt like an exotic antidote to the humdrum of the English city suburbs and countryside.
I was a keen illustrator spending hours pouring over the minutia of the subject matter. I wanted my drawings to feel as close to reality as possible. This work saw me enrolled in college at a young age where I studied Photography and Graphic Design.
Drawing on my childhood memories, the visuals of the American landscape remained a major influence on my photography. I became inspired by North American photographers of the '60s and '70s who were prevalent in using large format film. This laborious system of capture enhanced these seemingly ordinary looking street scenes and vistas with fastidious detail.
I discovered a more modern process in the form of a technical camera, digital back, and precision optics, then proceeded to cast my own journey.
I like my pictures to be aesthetically simple, clean and graphic, which resonates with my background in design. I prefer the images to retain an air of perplexity, so keeping them free of people and any notable present-day object helps suspend them in a moment in time.
As with most large format photography techniques, when I photograph a scene I capture everything across the frame in complete focus. This can lend a heightened sense of reality. Given each picture is deliberately simple and mundane – the detail of the capture is just as important as the subject matter and becomes a character of the image in itself.
I use the full size of the sensor and prefer not to crop. Restricting myself to this discipline is almost a digital reverence to large format film.
My creative vision is to capture a calm and melancholic disposition in the landscape and create a scene of discernible simplicity to evoke an emotional and response from within.

About Lost America

Lost America examines a quiet stillness in a forgotten landscape that is, in a sense: 'on-pause'.
Backwater towns and rural corners are juxtaposed with the ambiguity of detached suburbia. Places appear frozen in time, their inhabitants absent or long since departed.
Ardently stagnant in their appearance, the images aim to unlock a moment of reflective contemplation and instil a melancholic feeling of familiarity.
One might not notice or acknowledge these spaces, especially when viewed within the vast stretch of America's panorama. Yet, when framed as a single vignette, the places can appear to echo a moment of mournful reverie. Or, for some, they might behold an alluringly sombre, everlasting impression.
 

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Enri Canaj
Albania
1980
Enri Canaj was born in Tirana, Albania, in 1980. He spent his early childhood there and moved with his family to Greece in 1991, immediately after the opening of the borders. He is based in Athens and covers stories in Greece and the Balkans. He studied photography at the Leica Academy in Athens. In 2007 he took part in a British Council project on migration, attending a year-long workshop with Magnum photographer Nikos Economopoulos. Since 2008, he has been a freelance photographer for major publications such as Time Lightbox, CNN Photo, New York Magazine, MSNBC Photography, The Wall Street Journal, Courrier International, Vice Magazine, The Financial Times, Newsweek, Paris Match, Le Monde Diplomatique, sample of his work has been exhibited at the Museum of Contemporary Art of Thessaloniki personal exhibition, HANOVER LUMIX Festival, Arles Festival, Benaki Museum Athens, Museum of Photography Thesaloniki, BOZAR Center for Fine Arts, Cultural Foundation of the National Bank of Greece in Athens, at the Bilgi Santral in Istanbul, the European Parliament in Brussels and the Athens Photo Festival, New Delhi Foto Festival.Source: Magnum Photos In 2010, statistics stated that some 90% of all illegal border crossings into the EU take place in Greek territory, with immigrants coming mostly from the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia, a reflection of the geopolitical conflicts currently ravaging each region, and the influx continues. These people are common a sight in Athens, as western tourists take part in the cultural tourism that keeps this city alive; peddling cheap products made in China – a crude image of capitalism eating its own tail. And yet, despite the ease with which this situation might be covered in bursts by the mainstream press, Enri Canaj’s work has consistently surrounded themes of migration within the Balkans, and more specifically the experience of immigrants in Greece, suggesting a dedication to a cause, rather than a newsworthy story. Since 2007, when he took part a yearlong project on migration with Magnum photographer Nikos Economopoulos entitled the City Streets Project organized by the British Council, this focus has become one of the key aspects to his work. And despite his professional status as a photojournalist, Canaj’s images reveal a more personal relationship to the situation of the migrant on the ground, given that Canaj himself was an immigrant who came to Greece from his native Albania in 1991 at the age of eleven. Having experienced first hand what it’s like to exist on the outside looking in, Canaj translates what he sees, and sends it back out into the world so as to reflect a sense of humanity in the lives of those so often treated as less than.Source: Aint-Bad In June 2019 Enri Canaj became a Magnum Photos associate. At-present he is based in Athens and covers stories in Greece, the Balkans, west & north Europe focusing on the migration matter.
Lewis Hine
United States
1874 | † 1940
Lewis Wickes Hine (September 26, 1874 – November 3, 1940) was an American sociologist and photographer known for using his camera as a tool for social reform. His photographs were instrumental in changing child labor laws in the United States. Lewis Hine was born in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, on September 26, 1874. After his father was killed in an accident, Hine began working and saved his money for a college education. He studied sociology at the University of Chicago, Columbia University, and New York University. He became a teacher in New York City at the Ethical Culture School, where he encouraged his students to use photography as an educational medium. Hine led his sociology classes to Ellis Island in New York Harbor, photographing the thousands of immigrants who arrived each day. Between 1904 and 1909, Hine took over 200 plates (photographs) and came to the realization that documentary photography could be employed as a tool for social change and reform. In 1907, Hine became the staff photographer of the Russell Sage Foundation; he photographed life in the steel-making districts and people of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, for the influential sociological study called The Pittsburgh Survey. The next year, he became the photographer for the National Child Labor Committee (NCLC), leaving his teaching position. Over the next decade, Hine documented child labor, with focus on the use of child labor in the Carolina Piedmont, to aid the NCLC's lobbying efforts to end the practice. In 1913, he documented child laborers among cotton mill workers with a series of Francis Galton's composite portraits. Hine's work for the NCLC was often dangerous. As a photographer, he was frequently threatened with violence or even death by factory police and foremen. At the time, the immorality of child labor was meant to be hidden from the public. Photography was not only prohibited but also posed a serious threat to the industry. To gain entry to the mills, mines and factories, Hine was forced to assume many guises. At times he was a fire inspector, postcard vendor, bible salesman, or even an industrial photographer making a record of factory machinery. During and after World War I, he photographed American Red Cross relief work in Europe. In the 1920s and early 1930s, Hine made a series of work portraits, which emphasized the human contribution to modern industry. In 1930, Hine was commissioned to document the construction of the Empire State Building. He photographed the workers in precarious positions while they secured the steel framework of the structure, taking many of the same risks that the workers endured. To obtain the best vantage points, Hine was swung out in a specially designed basket 1,000 ft above Fifth Avenue. At times, he remembered, he hung above the city with nothing below but "a sheer drop of nearly a quarter-mile." During the Great Depression Hine again worked for the Red Cross, photographing drought relief in the American South, and for the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), documenting life in the mountains of eastern Tennessee. He also served as chief photographer for the Works Progress Administration's National Research Project, which studied changes in the industry and their effect on employment. Hine was also a faculty member of the Ethical Culture Fieldston School. In 1936, Hine was selected as the photographer for the National Research Project of the Works Projects Administration, but his work there was not completed. The last years of his life were filled with professional struggles by loss of government and corporate patronage. Hine hoped to join the Farm Security Administration photography project, but despite writing repeatedly to Roy Stryker, Stryker always refused. Few people were interested in his work, past or present, and Hine lost his house and applied for welfare. He died on November 3, 1940, at Dobbs Ferry Hospital in Dobbs Ferry, New York, after an operation. He was 66 years old. Hine's photographs supported the NCLC's lobbying to end child labor, and in 1912 the Children's Bureau was created. The Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 eventually brought child labour in the US to an end. After Hine's death, his son Corydon donated his prints and negatives to the Photo League, which was dismantled in 1951. The Museum of Modern Art was offered his pictures and did not accept them, but the George Eastman House did. In 2006, author Elizabeth Winthrop Alsop's historical fiction middle-grade novel, Counting on Grace was published by Wendy Lamb Books. The latter chapters center on 12-year-old Grace and her life-changing encounter with Lewis Hine, during his 1910 visit to a Vermont cotton mill known to have many child laborers. On the cover is the iconic photo of Grace's real-life counterpart, Addie Card (1897–1993), taken during Hine's undercover visit to the Pownal Cotton Mill. In 2016, TIME Magazine published colorized versions of several of Hine's photographs of child labor in the US.Source: Wikipedia Lewis Hine was trained to be an educator in Chicago and New York. A project photographing on Ellis Island with students from the Ethical Culture School in New York galvanized his recognition of the value of documentary photography in education. Soon after, he became a sociological photographer, establishing a studio in upstate New York in 1912. For nearly ten years Hine was the photographer for the National Child Labor Committee, contributing to exhibitions and the organization's publication, The Survey. Declaring that he "wanted to show things that had to be corrected," he was one of the earliest photographers to use the photograph as a documentary tool. Around 1920, however, Hine changed his studio publicity from "Social Photography by Lewis W. Hine" to "Lewis Wickes Hine, Interpretive Photography," to emphasize a more artistic approach to his imagemaking. Having joined the American Red Cross briefly in 1918, he continued to freelance for them through the 1930s. In 1936 Hine was appointed head photographer for the National Research Project of the Works Projects Administration, but his work for them was never completed. His last years were marked by professional struggles due to diminishing government and corporate patronage, and he died in 1940 at age sixty-six.Source: The J. Paul Getty Museum Born in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, Lewis W. Hine studied sociology before moving to New York in 1901 to work at the Ethical Culture School, where he took up photography to enhance his teaching practices. By 1904 he had begun a series of photographs documenting the arrival of immigrants at Ellis Island; this project, along with his pictures of harsh labor conditions published in the Pittsburgh Survey, brought his work to the attention of the National Child Labor Committee. He served as its official photographer from 1911 to 1916, and later traveled with the Red Cross to Europe, where he documented the effects of World War I in France and the Balkans for Red Cross Magazine. After returning to the United States in 1922, he accepted commercial assignments, produced another series on Ellis Island immigrants, and photographed the construction of the Empire State Building. Several of these construction pictures were published in Men at Work (1932), a book celebrating the individual worker's interaction with machines in the modern world. Despite the success of this book, Hine's financial situation became desperate and his photography was virtually forgotten. Berenice Abbott and Elizabeth McCausland learned of his work through the New York City Photo League and mounted a traveling retrospective exhibition of his work to revive interest in it in 1939. Lewis Hine is best known for the documentary images of child labor practices that he produced under the aegis of the National Child Labor Committee from 1911 to 1916. These photographs not only have been credited as important in the passing of child labor laws, but also have been praised for their sympathetic depiction of individuals in abject working conditions. Hine labeled his pictures "photo-interpretations," emphasizing his subjective involvement with his subjects; this approach became the model for many later documentary photographers, such as Sid Grossman and Ben Shahn.Source: International Center of Photography
Alfred Stieglitz
United States
1864 | † 1946
Through his activities as a photographer, critic, dealer, and theorist, Alfred Stieglitz had a decisive influence on the development of modern art in America during the early twentieth century. Born in 1864 in New Jersey, Stieglitz moved with his family to Manhattan in 1871 and to Germany in 1881. Enrolled in 1882 as a student of mechanical engineering in the Technische Hochschule (technical high school) in Berlin, he was first exposed to photography when he took a photochemistry course in 1883. From then on he was involved with photography, first as a technical and scientific challenge, later as an artistic one. Returning with his family to America in 1890, he became a member of and advocate for the school of pictorial photography in which photography was considered to be a legitimate form of artistic expression. In 1896 he joined the Camera Club in New York and managed and edited Camera Notes, its quarterly journal. Leaving the club six years later, Stieglitz established the Photo-Secession group in 1902 and the influential periodical Camera Work in 1903. In 1905, to provide exhibition space for the group, he founded the first of his three New York galleries, The Little Galleries of the Photo-Secession, which came to be known as Gallery 291. In 1907 he began to exhibit the work of other artists, both European and American, making the gallery a fulcrum of modernism. As a gallery director, Stieglitz provided emotional and intellectual sustenance to young modernists, both photographers and artists. His Gallery 291 became a locus for the exchange of critical opinions and theoretical and philosophical views in the arts, while his periodical Camera Work became a forum for the introduction of new aesthetic theories by American and European artists, critics, and writers. After Stieglitz closed Gallery 291 in 1917, he photographed extensively, and in 1922 he began his series of cloud photographs, which represented the culmination of his theories on modernism and photography. In 1924 Stieglitz married Georgia O'Keeffe, with whom he had shared spiritual and intellectual companionship since 1916. In December of 1925 he opened the Intimate Gallery; a month later Duncan Phillips purchased his first works from Stieglitz’s gallery, paintings by Dove, Marin, and O'Keeffe. In 1929 Stieglitz opened a gallery called An American Place, which he was to operate until his death. During the thirties, Stieglitz photographed less, stopping altogether in 1937 due to failing health. He died in 1946, in New York. The Collection contains nineteen gelatin-silver photographs of clouds by Stieglitz. Source: The Phillips Collection All images © Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, The Alfred Stieglitz Collection, Gift of Georgia O'Keeffe
René Groebli
Switzerland
1927
René Groebli (born October 9, 1927 in Zurich) is an exhibiting and published Swiss industrial and advertising photographer, expert in dye transfer and colour lithography. He grew up in the Enge district of the city of Zurich, where he attended the Langzeitgymnasium. After two years, he moved to the Oberrealschule, a science-oriented grammar school, but broke off this education after two years to begin an apprenticeship as a photographer with Theo Vonow in Zurich in 1944. When his teacher moved back to Graubünden, Groebli entered the preparatory course of the Zurich School of Applied Arts, attending from the spring of 1945. Subsequently, he enrolled in the renowned professional class for photography under the direction of Hans Finsler and Alfred Willimann until the summer of 1946. Amongst his fellow students were Ernst Scheidegger and Anita Nietz. In September 1946 Groebli began training as a documentary cameraman at Central Film and Gloria Film Zürich, graduating in late 1948 with a diploma, though he did not subsequently practice as a cinematographer. In 1947 he won third prize in a competition run by the monthly magazine Camera with his series Karussell. Freelancing for Victor-N. Cohen agency in Zurich, in 1948 Groebli made his first trip to Paris and in 1949 bought his first Leica. From 1949 Groebli worked as a photojournalist and carried out assignments for the Züri-Woche, and later in Africa and the Middle East for the London agency Black Star. The pictures were published in the magazines Life and Picture Post. His first small folio Magie der Schiene ('Rail magic') comprising 16 photographs (with front and back cover) was also shot in 1949 and self-published later the same year. It captures the ‘magic’ of steam train travel during the late 1940s. Despite being young and relatively unknown, Groebli was able to borrow enough money to finance the high-quality printing. Technically it is a portfolio rather than a book, with pages unbound and laid in loose, inspired by the Man Ray and Paul Éluard publication FACILE (1935) which he purchased on his first trip to Paris in 1948. Photographed with a Rolleiflex 6×6 and a Leica 35mm camera in and around Paris, as well as locations in Switzerland, the often motion-blurred and grainy images convey the energy of steam. An obi-band with German text was produced for the approximately 30 to 40 original preorders, and other copies sold without. He held his first solo exhibition with photographs from the book. He spent three months in Paris where he met Brassaï and Robert Frank and spent a month in London. On October 13, 1951 he and Rita Dürmüller (1923-2013) were married. A second slim picture book Das Auge der Liebe ('The Eye of Love'), self-published in 1954 through his business “Turnus”, was created in collaboration with his wife Rita Groebli. This small book, though respected for its design and photography, caused some controversy, but also brought Groebli attention. It was assembled from shots made on the belated honeymoon that the photographer and his wife Rita took over two weeks in Paris in 1952 and in the following year for a few days to Marseille, though publication of the photographs was not planned in 1953 Groebli sequenced it for a book, introducing a blank page to stand in for daytime in its chronology. In the Swiss Photorundschau, published by the Swiss Photographic Association, the editor Hermann König traded correspondence with a specialist teacher of the School of Applied Arts where the book had been passed around and argued over, the term "love" in the title being considered by students to be too sentimental given the obvious sexual connotations. Where the photographer’s intention was for a romantic effect, the editor admitted that the narrative was sexualized. In the leading periodical Neue Zürcher Zeitunghe, editor Edwin Arnet objected to the emphasis on nudity. Groebli sequenced his photographs to tell the story of a woman meeting a man in a cheap hotel. The last photograph shows the woman's hand with a wedding ring on her ring finger holding an almost finished post-coitus cigarette. In the perception of audiences of the era, the implication was that the woman had to be either an ‘easy woman’, a prostitute, or an unfaithful wife. However the U.S. Camera Annual review of the work in 1955 pronounced it "a tender photo-essay on a photographer’s love for a woman.” After the death of photojournalist Paul Senn in 1953 and the killing of Werner Bischof in Peru in 1954, Kurt Blum, Robert Frank and René Groebli were newly admitted to the Kollegium Schweizerischer Photographen. A major exhibition organized by the 'Kollegium' in 1955 convinced critics that a new "Swiss style" that was indeed moving towards Photography as Expression as the exhibition was titled, and the end of critical (later dubbed 'concerned') photography. However, the association was soon disbanded because of disagreements between Gotthard Schuh and Jakob Tuggener, and Groebli had by then relinquished photojournalism. In the same year, and with four other Swiss photographers, Werner Bischof, Robert Frank, Gotthard Schuh and Sabine Weiss, René Groebli was represented with a picture in the exhibition The Family of Man curated by Edward Steichen for the Museum of Modern Art in New York. His available-light photo shows a tight crowd of excited, dancing teenagers, their movement blurred in the style of Magie der Schiene. Groebli launched his own studio for commercial industrial and advertising photography in 1955 in the newly built residential and studio building in Zurich-Wollishofen. At the end of the 1950s, Groebli also had his home and studio converted and enlarged and in addition to two studios and two black and white labs, a dye transfer workshop with several laboratory workstations was added. In 1963 Groebli founded the limited partnership Groebli + Guler with lithographer Walter Guler, renamed 'Fotolithos' in 1968. The workplace in Zurich-Wollishofen was equipped with the latest and best technical facilities and through the 1960s and early 1970s the business employed a staff of up to twelve, with good profits made from servicing the advertising photography industry. After ten years producing specialist colour photography, dye transfer production and colour lithographs for commercial advertising and industrial photography, in 1965 Groebli published his third photo book Variation through Arthur Niggli Verlag, Teufen. It presented a retrospective of possibilities of Groebli’s colour photography, though with scant mention of the role of his many employees and business partners. In 1971 he issued a second edition Variation 2, with updated information on colour technology including Cibachrome. By the late 1970s, with the more widespread adoption and acceptance of chromogenic methods of colour production less technically demanding and cheaper than dye transfer, Groebli ceased commercial photography and colour production, sold his home and studio and retired, though he still maintained connections with the industry and presented a paper on dye transfer at the 1977 Rencontres d'Arles. Groebli returned to making personal photographic essays in colour and in black and white, in series titled Fantasies, Ireland, The Shell, Burned Trees, N. Y. Visions, New York Melancholia and Nudes. Over the decades of the turn of the century, he worked on his image archive and digitized the most important photographs that he had taken over a career of sixty years. Groebli currently resides in Switzerland.Source: Wikipedia
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. That's precisely at that moment, in 2004, that I accidently dive into photography, or more accurately macrophotography, were insects are predominant.Three years later, insects went into hiding under the leaves, my six children are born, and we have left the hill for the stream on the edge of the world. My photo-diary was established without my really noticing, It now seems vital and everlasting. About "La famille" I'm a father of six. Through my photographic work I celebrate and document my family life:A life on the edge of the world, where intemporality and the universality of childhood meet. Day to day I create a family album that constitues a legacy that I will pass on to my children.My work reflects our way of life,revolving around their childhood. My photographs will be the testimony of that. In a way my approach can be considered similar to the one of an ethnologist. Though my work is deeply personal, It's also accessible,addressing human nature and allowing the viewer to enter my world and reflect on their own childhoods. Fed everyday and shared with the world via the internet, my photographic production has became a mean of communication, leading to a questionning about freedom, nudity, being and having. Exclusive Interview with Alain Laboile: All About Photo: When did you realize you wanted to be a photographer?I was working as a sculptor. In 2004 I bought my first camera to photograph my sculptures and my passion for insects drove me to practice macrophotography. After the birth of my last two daughters I raised little by little my lens towards my family. The passion was born and did not leave me any more since 9 years.Where did you study photography?I am totally self-taught. When I began, I had a very limited photographic culture, no technique. I learned by sharing my photos on forums on the web, by receiving critics which allowed me to progress.Do you have a mentor or role model?I met the famous American photographer Jock Sturges during the summer 2012. He became a good friend, a kind of spiritual father who accompanies me in my artistic route. I owe him a lot. Do you remember your first shot? What was it? I think It was a macrophotography showing a mating of slugs. What or who inspires you? My work is extremely personal because it concerns my family life and our little offbeat lifestyle. I try to be inspired by nobody. It is the spectators of my work, that sometimes establish comparisons. Sally Mann’s work is often mentioned. How could you describe your style? An Internet user compared one day my photographic style with street photography. I think that if indeed I lived in town I would practise street photography. But living in the countryside, I photograph my family in its close environment, on the deep. Do you have a favorite photograph or series? I like very much the work of joseph-Philippe Bevillard, His series of portraits of Irish gypsies is fascinating. What kind of gear do you use? Camera, lens, digital, film? I worked for a long time with a Canon 5 D Mark III camera and 35 mm f1,4 lens. I now own a Leica M monochrom which I use with a 35 mm f1,4 Leica lens. Do you spend a lot of time editing your images? For what purpose?I am very selective. I do not hesitate to delete all the photos which do not satisfy me totally. What advice would you give a young photographer?I would say to him that he should not focus on the equipment nor to be intimidated by the lack of technique, all this is secondary. It is necessary to let speak its instinct, accept the criticism. What are your projects?I will publish a book with Steidl Verlag in 2014. An exciting project! Your best memory as a photographer?My publication in the NY times in 2012. I had made several interviews before and I made a lot since but that this has a real symbolic value ! AYour worst souvenir as a photographer?In 2009, I had to stop photography for several months. I needed money and I sold my photographic stuff. A nightmare! The compliment that touched you most?One day Jock Sturges let this comment on one of my photos: "It's wonderful images like this that reinforce my realization that you are my favorite living photographer. Amen " If you were someone else who would it be?I am not certain to want to be somebody else but I would have liked to began to practise photography 20 years earlier. An anecdote?I won a big Canon competition. I left exploring the canopy in the rainforest of kakamega in Kenya. I was accompanied by a crew managed by Peter Webber the director of the movie “Girl with a pearl earring” and “Hannibal Lecter”. We ate spaghetti bolognese together in the middle of the jungle. Fabulous memories a little bit crazy! Anything else you would like to share?I published my first book "Waiting for the postman" in november 2012 . My next exhibition will take place in Santa Monica (California) at dnj Gallery from november 2nd ( 2013) to January 4 th( 2014)
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