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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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Germany/Australia
1920 | † 2004
Helmut Newton, a German-Jewish/Australian fashion photographer, is best known for his fashion and female nude studies. Born Helmut Neustadter in Berlin, Germany on Oct. 31, 1920, Newton attended both German and American schools. Newton's proclivity for the unusual, particularly in sexual contexts, is attributed to his early years, when his older brother showed him the "red light" (prostitute) district of Berlin. This early exposure would later lead him to create photographic studies that altered the course of fashion photography. In 1936, Newton left a floundering school career to apprentice under German photographer Else Neulander Simon (known professionally as Yva). Under political pressure, Else, also a Jew, was forced to close her studio, and in 1938, Newton himself fled Germany for Singapore. Here he worked briefly as a photographer for the Singapore Strait Times until he made another move, this time to Melbourne, Australia. During World War II Newton served with the Australian army as a truck driver, then decided to follow his dream, opening his first photography studio in 1946. Two years later he married actress June Browne and gained his Australian citizenship. Newton's initial photography work was standard of the time, primarily comprising weddings, baby portraits and mail order catalogs. But in 1952 his big break came when he began working for fashion-iconic Australian Vogue magazine. In 1956 Newton partnered with Henry Talbot and gave his studio a new name: Helmut Newton and Henry Talbot. By the late 1950s, Newton's reputation as a photographer was growing. He left for London on assignment in 1959 and eventually landed in Paris in 1961. From this new locale, his work appeared nationally and internationally in such magazines as Elle, Marie Claire, Playboy and French Vogue. During this time Newton's photography style began to emerge as covertly sexual, even hinting occasionally at the fetishistic. Throughout the 1960s Newton's celebrity status brought him increasingly exotic assignments. Then, following a heart attack in 1971, Newton's work took on new purpose. He began to openly explore sexual themes, rocking the photography world and capturing interest around the globe. Newton's wife, June, is said to have encouraged him in this new career course as he began to depict women in increasingly aggressive and sometimes menacing roles. The 1978 horror classic "The Eyes of Laura Mars" was influenced directly by Newton's work. Newton was the recipient of a number of honors, including Germany's Kodak Award for Photographic Books, the Tokyo Art Director's Club prize and an American Institute of Graphic Arts award. He was also recognized by the French and German governments. Life magazine honored Newton with the Life Legend Award for Lifetime Achievement in Magazine Photography in 1999. In 2003, Newton donated a large photo collection to the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation in Berlin, the land of his birth. The collection remains there today. Newton continued to travel during his waning years, primarily alternating between Los Angeles and Monte Carlo. He died on Jan. 24, 2004, in an automobile accident. His ashes are buried in his home city of Berlin.
Julie Blackmon
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Born in Springfield, Missouri, Julie Blackmon studied art education and photography at Missouri State University. She has received several national awards for her photographs, including commendation in the 2004 Santa Fe Center of Photography Project Competition, a merit award from the Society of Contemporary Photography, 2005 B& W Magazine Merit Award for Single Image Contest, 2006 1st Place for Domestic Vacations from the Santa Fe Center of Photograph Project Competition, 2006 Critical Mass Book Award Winner for Domestic Vacations, and recognized as American Photo’s Emerging Photographer of 2008. Her photographs are included in the permanent collections of the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Toledo Museum of Art, Portland Art Museum, Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago, among numerous others. About Domestic Vacations:The Dutch proverb “a Jan Steen household” originated in the 17th century and is used today to refer to a home in disarray, full of rowdy children and boisterous family gatherings. The paintings of Steen, along with those of other Dutch and Flemish genre painters, helped inspire this body of work. I am the oldest of nine children and now the mother of three. As Steen’s personal narratives of family life depicted nearly 400 yrs. ago, the conflation of art and life is an area I have explored in photographing the everyday life of my family and the lives of my sisters and their families at home. These images are both fictional and auto-biographical, and reflect not only our lives today and as children growing up in a large family, but also move beyond the documentary to explore the fantastic elements of our everyday lives, both imagined and real. The stress, the chaos, and the need to simultaneously escape and connect are issue that I investigate in this body of work. We live in a culture where we are both “child centered” and “self-obsessed.” The struggle between living in the moment versus escaping to another reality is intense since these two opposites strive to dominate. Caught in the swirl of soccer practices, play dates, work, and trying to find our way in our “make-over” culture, we must still create the space to find ourselves. The expectations of family life have never been more at odds with each other. These issues, as well as the relationship between the domestic landscape of the past and present, are issues I have explored in these photographs. I believe there are moments that can be found throughout any given day that bring sanctuary. It is in finding these moments amidst the stress of the everyday that my life as a mother parallels my work as an artist, and where the dynamics of family life throughout time seem remarkably unchanged. As an artist and as a mother, I believe life’s most poignant moments come from the ability to fuse fantasy and reality: to see the mythic amidst the chaos.
Diana Markosian
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Marcos Zegers
Chile
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I am a Chilean photographer, with a background in architecture and with a strong interest in geopolitical, territorial and migration conflicts. My work focuses on long-term documentary projects in which I illustrate urgent situations through a careful and studied proposal. My work has been exhibited in Chile (Animal, Ekho Gallery), and fairs in London, Paris, Shanghai and New York and I participated in photo festivals as PhotoEspaña (Esp), Format (UK) and FIFV (Chile). Recently my documentary project was published on The New York Times which gave me the opportunity to start working as a freelancer for the same newspaper. I teach at the University Diego Portales in Chile where I currently live. About Mining and Exodus in the Atacama Desert This visual essay is the narrative of an endless journey through the desert and the Andes Highlands in Bolivia and Chile. A paused and deep journey through places full of memory. What appears to be photographs of elements randomly dispersed throughout the territory, when consciously grouped together, are transformed into a linear narrative linked to the extractive era. Like a map that is revealed in parts, a harsh story uncovers the relationship between mining activities and cultural displacements, all united under a common element in dispute, water. Following the course of the extractive history of colonial Latin America, what was rubber in Iquitos, cane in the Caribbean, gold in Guanajuato or silver in Potosi, in Chile was the nitrate (saltpetre). For almost two centuries, the Atacama Desert has been a constant source of mineral resource extraction. The "Saltpetre Offices" have left the mark of an era of wealth and exploitation. Today the situation repeats itself as an exact cycle: what was nitrate, passed to copper, and today, it turns to lithium. Right in the middle of this extractive history are the woman and the man who inhabited the territory. On the one hand, there is the Aymara woman who walks and grazes the cattle in the Andean mountain range. She has not seen the face of the mining company. However, they critically meet in the use of the same resource: water. The excessive water consumption by mining companies has dried the soil, making livestock and agriculture unviable. Consequently, the highlands man has been forced to go down to work in the city, where possibly, the job to which he aspires, is precisely in mining. This uncovers a vicious circle which is greatly enhanced by the government's lack of attention to these isolated areas. The risk is profound. The desert has not been completely unravelled. It continues to have lots of minerals, and at the same time, it stalks a climate change that will not stop any time soon. In Chile the water is sold, the water rights belong to private. This situation has alarmed the inhabitants of this territory, amongst organizations and activists who wage real legal battles in the courts. This visual essay, far from addressing the issue on all its extents, seeks to contribute to the latent conversation about extractive practices and the current economic model in Chile. To bring back this apparently scenic desert to an urgent reality, promoting a reflection that contributes to the appreciation of rural territory and its culture.
 Nadar
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