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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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More Great Photographers To Discover

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France
1820 | † 1910
Nadar was the pseudonym of Gaspard-Félix Tournachon. Nadar was born in April 1820 in Paris (though some sources state Lyon). He was a caricaturist for Le Charivari in 1848. In 1849 he created the Revue comique and the Petit journal pour rire. He took his first photographs in 1853 and in 1858 became the first person to take aerial photographs. He also pioneered the use of artificial lighting in photography, working in the catacombs of Paris. Around 1863, Nadar built a huge (6000 m³) balloon named Le Géant ("The Giant"), thereby inspiring Jules Verne's Five Weeks in a Balloon. Although the "Géant" project was initially unsuccessful Nadar was still convinced that the future belonged to heavier-than-air machines. Later, "The Society for the Encouragement of Aerial Locomotion by Means of Heavier than Air Machines" was established, with Nadar as president and Verne as secretary. Nadar was also the inspiration for the character of Michael Ardan in Verne's From the Earth to the Moon. On his visit to Brussels with the Géant, on 26 September 1864, Nadar erected mobile barriers to keep the crowd at a safe distance. Up to this day, crowd control barriers are known in Belgium as Nadar barriers. In April 1874, he lent his photo studio to a group of painters, thus making the first exhibition of the Impressionists possible. He photographed Victor Hugo on his death-bed in 1885. He is credited with having published (in 1886) the first photo-interview (of famous chemist Michel Eugène Chevreul, then a centenarian), and also took erotic photographs. From 1895 until his return to Paris in 1909, the Nadar photo studio was in Marseilles (France). Nadar died in 1910, aged 89. He was buried in Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris. Source: Wikipedia
Pierre Verger
France
1902 | † 1996
Pierre Edouard Leopold Verger, alias Fatumbi or Fátúmbí was a photographer, self-taught ethnographer, and babalawo (Yoruba priest of Ifa) who devoted most of his life to the study of the African diaspora - the slave trade, the African-based religions of the new world, and the resulting cultural and economical flows from and to Africa. At the age of 30, after losing his family, Pierre Verger took up the career of journalistic photographer. Over the next 15 years, he traveled the four continents, documenting many civilizations that would soon be effaced by progress. His destinations included Tahiti (1933); United States, Japan, and China (1934 and 1937); Italy, Spain, Sudan (now Mali), Niger, Upper Volta, Togo and Dahomey (now Benin, 1935); the West Indies (1936); Mexico (1937, 1939, and 1957); the Philippines and Indochina (now Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam, 1938); Guatemala and Ecuador (1939); Senegal (as a conscript, 1940); Argentina (1941), Peru and Bolivia (1942 and 1946); and finally Brazil (1946). His photographs were featured in magazines such as Paris-Soir, Daily Mirror (under the pseudonym of Mr. Lensman), Life, and Paris Match. In the city of Salvador, Brazil he fell in love with the place and people, and decided to stay for good. Having become interested in the local history and culture, he turned from errant photographer to a researcher of the African diaspora in the Americas. His subsequent voyages are focused on that goal: the west coast of Africa and Paramaribo (1948), Haiti (1949), and Cuba (1957). After studying the Yoruba culture and its influences in Brazil, Verger became an initiated of the Candomblé religion, and officiated at its rituals. During a visit to Benin, he was initiated into Ifá (cowrie-shell divination), became a babalawo (priest) of Orunmila, and was renamed Fátúmbí ("he who is reborn through the Ifá"). Veger's contributions to ethnography are embodied in dozens of conference papers, journal articles and books and were recognized by Sorbonne University, which conferred upon him a doctoral degree (Docteur 3eme Cycle) in 1966 — quite a feat for someone who dropped out of high school at 17. Verger continued to study and document his chosen subject right until his death in Salvador, at the age of 94. During that time he became a professor at the Federal University of Bahia in 1973, where he was responsible for the establishment of the Afro-Brazilian Museum in Salvador; and served as visiting professor at the University of Ifé in Nigeria. The non-profit Pierre Verger Foundation in Salvador, which he established to continue his work, holds more than 63,000 photos and negatives taken until 1973, as well as his papers and correspondence. Source: Wikipedia
Sandrine Hermand-Grisel
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Bill Brandt
Germany/United Kingdom
1904 | † 1983
Born in Hamburg, Germany, son of a British father and German mother, Brandt grew up during World War I, during which his father, who had lived in Germany since the age of five, was interned for six months by the Germans as a British citizen. Brandt later disowned his German heritage and would claim he was born in South London. Shortly after the war, he contracted tuberculosis and spent much of his youth in a sanatorium in Davos, Switzerland. He traveled to Vienna to undertake a course of treatment for tuberculosis by psychoanalysis. He was, in any case, pronounced cured and was taken under the wing of socialite Eugenie Schwarzwald. When Ezra Pound visited the Schwarzwald residence, Brandt made his portrait. In appreciation, Pound allegedly offered Brandt an introduction to Man Ray, in whose Paris studio Brandt would assist in 1930. In 1933 Brandt moved to London and began documenting all levels of British society. This kind of documentary was uncommon at that time. Brandt published two books showcasing this work, The English at Home (1936) and A Night in London (1938). He was a regular contributor to magazines such as Lilliput, Picture Post, and Harper's Bazaar. He documented the Underground bomb shelters of London during The Blitz in 1940, commissioned by the Ministry of Information. During World War II, Brandt focused every kind of subject - as can be seen in his "Camera in London" (1948) but excelled in portraiture and landscape. To mark the arrival of peace in 1945 he began a celebrated series of nudes. His major books from the post-war period are Literary Britain (1951), and Perspective of Nudes (1961), followed by a compilation of the best of all areas of his work, Shadow of Light (1966). Brandt became Britain's most influential and internationally admired photographer of the 20th century. Many of his works have important social commentary but also poetic resonance. His landscapes and nudes are dynamic, intense and powerful, often using wide-angle lenses and distortion. Brandt died in London in 1983.Source: Wikipedia Bill Brandt was one of the acknowledged masters of 20th century photography. Taken as a whole, his work constitutes one of the most varied and vivid social documents of Great Britain. Brandt was largely self-taught in photography and worked as a student-assistant to Man-Ray in Paris from 1929 to 1930. This exposure would determine the surrealist undercurrent and tension of many of Brandt’s images. Brandt’s work was shown in numerous exhibitions throughout Europe and the US during his career, including two one-person exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art in 1948 and 1969. There are over a dozen published books of his work from the 1930s through the 1980s. Brandt’s work was extensively collected by the Victoria and Albert Museum, London; the Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris and the Museum of Modern Art, New York.Source: The Halsted Gallery
Arja Katariina Hyytiäinen
Arja Katariiina Hyytiäinen was born in 1974 in Turku, Finland. She is a graduate of the Department of Documentary Photography at FAMU (Prague, Czech Republic). Hyytiäinen is interested in self-experienced stories. Thanks to her classical documentary background, her works often reflect a combination of self-experienced subjective reality and fictional intuitive storytelling. She has published two books ‘Distance Now’ and ‘Arja Hyytiäinen – Cahiers’. She is the recipient of the Critical Photography Prize, Prix Kodak in France 2006, as well as the Grand Prix at the 2007 Lodz Festival. Since 2006, Arja Hyytiäinen’s work has been distributed by Agence VU’. She has been based in La Rochelle, France, since 2010.Source: EPEA For the Finn Arja Hyytiäinen photography is a means of entering into the lives of others. It is an echo of personal experiences that help enlarge her understanding – and ours. The often sombre black and white photographs that she took in the port city of Marseille underscore the feeling that she got there, as if the residents had an almost permanent mental hangover. She shows the disfigured faces of people in illegal bars, she evokes the sound of fans, wind and footsteps that echo against shuttered windows, and depicts the restless energy of the night, which shades into a day where the heat envelopes your body like a second skin. The city, she says, left an emotional mark behind on her soul. With her subjective images she does the same for the viewer. In the space of only a couple years Arja Hyytiäinen (Finland, 1974) has made a name for herself as a contemporary street photographer, with a subjective, cinematographic style. She spent considerable time in Eastern Europe and was awarded the Kodak Prize for Critical Photography and the Polish Fotofestival Grand Prix. Hyytiäinen lives by turns in Paris and Berlin.Source: Noorderlicht "Completely contemporary, free and demanding, the work of Arja Katarrina Hyytiäinen is part of the today’s school, from the tradition of the street photography, and that has replaced its form to claim the author status. Saying its necessity and its singularity, devoting itself to subjectivity, and influenced by cinematographic aesthetic, the whole work, extremely respectful for representing people, is from a new contemporary humanism," according to Christian Caujolle. In just a few years, she has acquired a reputation throughout Europe, particularly where she has lived in Eastern Europe, and become known through her solo exhibitions (Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, Moldavia, Slovenia). In 2006 she was awarded by the Kodak Prize for Critical Photography and the Fotoestiwal (Poland) Grand Prix in 2007.Source: Agence VU
Ayanava Sil
I am Ayanava Sil a resident of Kolkata, India. By education I hold a degree of Master Of Business Administration in Marketing. Photography to me is an exemption to see things differently. I am a Street and Documentary photographer, with an objective of documenting everyday life. The uncertainty and the suspense drives me the most towards these genres of Photography. Documenting people over the years has provided me with the invaluable opportunity to explore the unknown and to embrace the conglomerate realities of people. I am one of the administrators and curator of Streets Of Calcutta which is the oldest and the largest Street Photography archive of Kolkata. My works has been published and recognized by different platforms like National Geographic, National Geographic Traveller India, CNN America, Getty Images, Business Standard, World-Street-Photography Book 5, APF Street Photography Magazine, Better Photography India, Asian Photography, Chiiz Magazine etc. I have been awarded by The Andrei Stenin International Press Photo Awards, News Times, Eye Win Awards, Golden Orchid International Photography Awards etc. My works has also been exhibited in multiple photography exhibition, to name a few, Jaipur Art Summit 2016, Ariano International Film Festival 2017, Kolkata International Photography Festival 2019, Wlasnymi Slowami Film Festival 2019. Where I Bloom As the world combats with an invisible enemy, many of our lives have come to a standstill now. A month ago our lives were pretty foreseeable with simple daily conventional work that all of us were looking forward to. The coronavirus pandemic has changed the whole scenario, today countries are under locked down, schools and universities have been closed, events are cancelled and many people have been asked to work from home. We have seen the Government enforcing every preventive measure to slow the spread of the virus and flatten the curve. During this critical time, it is essential that everyone stays at home and helps to prevent the spread of this virus. In these tough times, photography is one of the major businesses that has been affected a lot by this pandemic. All studios have been shut down, weddings have been postponed, all the sports events have been cancelled and presently more than half of the world is locked down and there is no possibility of travelling. I am a photographer who loves to roam around the city unwearyingly to document life on the streets but due to the pandemic it is impossible to go out of my house to shoot now. So to keep myself in practice and to keep my sanity I chose to document my house but with a definite objective as this work of mine will have a different approach from the rest of my works. Also, I challenged myself to shoot everything through my phone only. So I started shooting every corner of my house from the ground floor to the terrace, through the windows and the doors, the plants in my house to the birds which flies above my terrace. I decide not to include any human subject and the only reason behind this decision is because we often feel like we are the most important species, but the fact is that we will fade away with time but we will leave behind a lot of things when we are gone. I tried to portray those moments keeping the photographs minimalist and graphical in form and ambiguous in nature. During all this time I had an interesting observation and I discovered that sunlight creates fascinating graphical shadow movements in different parts of my house during each phase of the day. I think that the only positive outlook amidst the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak is that nature has started healing. I do not remember when I last saw such timely Norwesters in the past few years. The Norwesters generally hit during the months of April and May. It mostly occurs late in the evening when thick, dark and black clouds start appearing in the sky. It generally moves from west to east bringing torrential rain often with strong wind and lasts only for a short period of time. The Norwesters are beneficial for cultivation purposes in West Bengal and Bangladesh. This year, the Norwesters bought different and beautiful cloud patterns and I tried to weave them within my work as well.
Billy & Hells
Billy and Hells are two photographers: Anke Linz (Nürnberg, 1965) and Andreas Oettinger (Munich, 1963). They met in 1986, found a shared interest in photography and became partners in life and work. Inspired by the photographs of Irving Penn and Helmut Newton, Billy und Hells started to work in the field of fashion photography. They , accidentally came across a technique that would define their future works. By forgetting to take a black and white negative out of a Wühltisch developer, they developed a beautiful Baryt picture. This process is now known as a Lithprint. Later on they discovered that combining a black and white slidefrom a colour negative with a colour picture, a beautiful photograph emerged with fantastic effects. Because of this technique, the colours are reduced but give a intense effect. This technique reduces the colours but results simultaneously in an intensity, which they were unable to reach with regular photography.The results were unexpected but very satisfying. In 1999 they started working professionally for adverting campaigns and magazines. However, this branch of photography did not provide them for the artistic freedom they were looking for. In 2000 they settled in Berlin and started a studio there. This is also the year that they started to work with digital cameras, taking advantage of all the benefits these provide. Amongst others they exhibited in Tokyo and Berlin. One of their photographs, Nabil, was used in a fashion exhibition on the Ideal Man in the Gemeentemuseum in The Hague.Another work, Sophia, featured in the London National Portrait Gallery’s advertisement campaign for the exhibition of the Photographic Portrait Prize 2007. Source: Morren Galleries Billy & Hells’ photographs exist in a world of in-betweens. Their deceptively simple, straightforward portraits convey a certain complexity. The archetypal characters depicted in their photographs—mothers, soldiers, cowboys, nurses, and teachers— possess an underlying sense of mystery, hinting at the duality of the sitter as well as the fictional world they inhabit. Although Billy & Hells’ images call upon historical and art historical references, their portraits are not burdened by the stipulations of historical recreations. Instead, seamlessly blending past and present, reality and fantasy, their photographs become a nostalgic diary, purposefully left open for interpretation. The duo discovered what has become their signature visual style via a typical lab-accident story— by forgetting to take a black and white negative out of the developer, they inadvertently produced an intense image with colors that appear simultaneously rich and muted. Their portraits combine elaborate, hand-painted backgrounds and draw inspiration from countless samples of fabrics, color compositions, and clothing that generate the distinct mood for each portrait. In a recent special issue on Young German Photography, Deutsch magazine described the experience of viewing a Billy & Hells photograph as the following, “Inevitably, without warning, you enter a unique world of images. Each scene becomes a kind of pseudo-dwelling for the person contemplating it. The situations seem to be familiar, but you are never absolutely sure just what is happening in front of you, who the characters are, where to place the individual scenes. The commonplace is bristling with exceptions, the direction of narrative changes continually and leads you astray. Trivial things are combined with the bizarre. The mixture deriving from this casts a spell on us.” (Deutsch, “Young German Photography”, 2000 Published by Kruse Verlag, Hamburg)Billy & Hells were nominated in 2007 for The National Portrait Gallery’s Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait. The series “Blue Moon” was recently featured in the photographic quarterly Eyemazing. Their work has been exhibited and collected internationally. Anke Linz and Andreas Oettinger live and work in Berlin.Source: Fahey/Klein Gallery
Michael Kenna
United Kingdom
1953
Michael Kenna was born in Widnes, England in 1953. As one of 6 children born to a working class Irish-Catholic family, he initially aspired to enter the priesthood but his passion for the arts led him to The Banbury School of Art where he studied painting and then photography. Later he attended The London College of Printing and began working as a photographer and artist. He moved to San Francisco in 1977 where he was astounded by the number of galleries the city housed which allowed artists to showcase and sell their work. San Francisco has remained his home ever since. Michael Kenna's work has often been described as enigmatic, graceful and hauntingly beautiful much like the Japanese landscape. Kenna first visited Japan in 1987 for a one-person exhibition and was utterly seduced by the country's terrain. Over the years he has traveled throughout almost the entire country constantly taking photographs. From these many treks the book Japan, featuring 95 of these photographs, was conceived. The simplicity and clarity of Kenna's Japan alludes to rather than describes his subject allowing the viewer to have a completely unique and tailored interpretation. He has described this body of work as, "more like a haiku rather than a prose"; his work being like photographs written in short poem form. Kenna's photographs are often made at dawn or in the dark hours of night with exposures up to 10 hours. Kenna has said "you can't always see what's otherwise noticeable during the day... with long exposures you can photograph what the human eye is incapable of seeing". Michael Kenna's prints have been shown in numerous exhibitions throughout the world with permanent collections in the Bibliotheque, Paris; The Museum of Decorative Arts, Prague; The National Gallery of Art, Washington DC; and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. Kenna has also done a great deal of commercial work for such clients as Volvo, Rolls Royce, Audi, Sprint, Dom Perignon and The Spanish Tourist Board. Japan is one of 18 books of Kenna's photography to have been published to date. Source: Supervision With more than fifty monographs documenting his travels, Michael Kenna shows no signs of slowing down in his endless pursuit of nature's haunting beauty. Whether working in his native England, Easter Island, the coastal towns of France or the islands in Japan, Kenna seeks places of solitude which speak volumes about humanity. Barren seascapes, abandoned fishing nets, fragmented piers, mysterious horizons, trees emerging from under snow drifts – these are just some of the images which dominate Michael Kenna's work from Japan. The result of his efforts can be seen in two books, Hokkaido (2006) and Japan (2002), both published by Nazraeli Press. His newest book, Mont St Michel, continues his passion for solace. Originally built as a community for Benedictine monks, Mont St Michel became a place of prayer, meditation and silence. Kenna made may journeys to Mont St Michel, staying for days at a time, living among the residents, following their codes of silence and prayer. Armed with a camera, Kenna walked the halls, crypts and towers, watching shadows sneak their way around columns and spires, recording the passing of time. Mont St Michel is dedicated to Michael's father who recently passed away. As Kenna states in his introduction: "My dad was a quiet man, he didn't seem to have a need to talk very much...We walked pretty much everywhere, and I liked to walk with my Dad...I think the time in-between destinations was most special for me. We didn't need to say very much to each other. Walking, observing, listening, waiting. Somehow I associate those walks with my time at Mont St Michel...He taught me that it's alright to walk alone sometimes." Whether photographing in Mont St Michel, Japan, China, or the United States, Michael Kenna invites the viewer to walk along with him as he captures moments between events, when human presence seems right around the corner and silence is always present... Source: Catherine Edelman Gallery
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Call for Entries
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Winners will receive $10,000 in cash awards, extensive press coverage and global recognition.