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Margaret Watkins
Self Portrait, 1919
Margaret Watkins
Margaret Watkins

Margaret Watkins

Country: Canada
Birth: 1884 | Death: 1969

Margaret Watkins (1884-1969) was born in Canada. Best known for art and advertising photography executed in New York in the 1920s, Watkins was active in the Clarence White school of photography and a participant in the shift from pictorialism to modernism. Her working life spanned a Victorian upbringing in Hamilton, Ontario, and the witnessing of the first Soviet Five-Year Plan. Watkins' modernism, which involved experimentation and a radical focus on form, transgressed boundaries of conventional, high-art subject matter. Her focus was daily life and her photographs, whether an exploration of the objects in her New York kitchen or the public and industrial spaces of Glasgow, Paris, Cologne, Moscow, and Leningrad in the 1930s, strike a balance between abstraction and an evocation of the everyday, offering a unique gendered perspective on modernism and modernity.

Watkins established a studio in Greenwich Village and in 1920 she accepted the position of editor of the annual publication Pictorial Photography in America. Clarence White asked Watkins to join the faculty of his school, where Watkins met other notable photographers, including Alfred Stieglitz and Paul Strand. She worked for Macy's department stores and for the J. Walter Thompson advertising agency, capturing simple domestic objects with a clarity of modernist vision rare in commercial photography at the time. Her landscapes, portraits, nudes, still lifes, and abstractions received praise and attracted controversy. Exhibitions were held in the United States and in Europe.

In 1928, Watkins decided to visit her four elderly aunts in Glasgow, Scotland. She traveled throughout Europe, photographing extensively and producing a body of work documenting post-revolution Russia. Her aunts began to take ill, and Watkins remained in Glasgow to help care for them. She drifted from the spotlight of public recognition, and few photographs or negatives exist from this time. Watkins lived in Scotland in seclusion until her death in 1969.
 

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Iwao Yamawaki
Japan
1898 | † 1987
Iwao Yamawaki, born Iwao Fujita, was a Japanese photographer and architect who trained at the Bauhaus. Born in Nagasaki, Yamawaki studied architecture at the Tokyo School of Fine Arts (now the Tokyo University of the Arts) from 1921 to 1926. After his graduation, he worked as an architect for the Yokogawa Construction Company and began to take photographs, which he submitted to the publications and competitions of Kenchiku Gakkai (the Society for Architectural Research). He was active in theatre circles as a costume and set designer and in 1926 he founded the Ningyō-za theatre in Tokyo with Koreya Senda (1904–1994) and others, and became involved with Tan'i Sanka, an avant-garde artists' group, where he met the Bauhaus student Sadanosuke Nakada (1888–1970), and where he later became friends with Takehiko Mizutani (1898–1969), the first Japanese student to study at the Bauhaus. He was formally introduced to Michiko Yamawaki (1910–2000), an heiress and the eldest daughter of a wealthy businessman, whom he married in 1928. He was asked by her father to adopt her family name, which he did in return for is new family-in-law financing the opportunity for both of them to study at the Bauhaus. In May 1930 Iwao and Michiko left Japan for New York, where they spent two months, before traveling to Berlin, where they were reunited with Koreya Senda, who had already been living in Berlin for about two years. Senda, a politically active socialist, was involved with underground theatre in Berlin, and with the Japanese artistic community in the city, to which he introduced the Yamawaki to. They often gathered in decadent bars, such as the El Dorado, a famous gay, lesbian and trans venue. In 1930 Yamawakis, together with Senda, the painter Osuke Shimazaki, lacquer artist Kotaro Fukuoka and photographer Hiroshi Yoshizawa, founded the design studio Tomoe in Berlin. The studio produced posters, gift-wrap paper, and leaflets, and undertook window dressing and interior design for Japanese restaurants. In October 1930 the couple began Josef Albers' first semester preliminary course at the Bauhaus in Dessau. In April 1931 Michiko went on to study in the weaving workshop and Iwao initially studied architecture, but a few months later he changed to the photography course taught by Walter Peterhans. Iwao developed a close friendship with fellow student and later Bauhaus teacher Kurt Kranz. Kranz was interested in photomontage and introduced Yamawaki to it. Iwao Yamawaki had a strong interest in architectural photography and took many photographs of the exterior and interior of the famous Bauhaus Dessau building complex, as well as of buildings in Berlin, Amsterdam and Moscow. His photographs are strongly influenced by the Neues Sehen (New Vision), an avant-garde movement of the 1920s and 1930s espoused by Bauhaus teacher László Moholy-Nagy, which encouraged photography of ordinary scenes using unfamiliar perspectives and angles, close-up details, use of light and shadow, and experimentation with multiple exposure. Senda and his wife, Irma, returned to Japan in January 1931 on the Trans-Siberian Railway. They stayed for a time in Moscow on their way back, and Yamawakis and several others in the Berlin Japanese artistic community joined them for a week, visiting the theatre and seeing the sights. The couple remained in Germany until the Bauhaus Dessau closed at the end of August 1932, when they returned to Japan. On his return to Tokyo, Yamawaki taught photography for 6 months at the Shinkenchiku kōgei (New Architecture and Design College), which was known as the 'Japanese Bauhaus'. He exhibited some of his work, but was dissatisfied with the Japanese photographic scene and gave up photography altogether. He became a successful architect and designed houses for the wealthy, developing a hybrid Japanese and Western design style, with architects such as Mies van der Rohe and Le Corbusier as his influences. Yamawaki also worked as an architectural journalist and was widely published. He designed a modernist villa for himself and his wife in 1934 and they furnished it with pieces that they imported from Germany, such as the Wassily Chair. He established his own architectural office in 1939 and designed the interiors of the Japanese pavilion in the Government Zone at the 1939–1940 New York World's Fair. The Yamawakis had two children in the late 1930s – early 1940s. Although they had mixed in a socialist milieu in Germany, during World War II they collaborated with the ruling Japanese fascist regime. In 1953 Yamawaki designed the Haiyūza theatre for his old friend Koreya Senda, and in 1954 and 1971 Iwao and Michiko Yamawaki brought Bauhaus exhibitions to Japan. However, in the post-war years, they both largely fell into obscurity.Source: Wikipedia
Herb Ritts
United States
1952 | † 2002
Herb Ritts began his photographic career in the late 70's and gained a reputation as a master of art and commercial photography. In addition to producing portraits and editorial fashion for Vogue, Vanity Fair, Interview and Rolling Stone, Ritts also created successful advertising campaigns for Calvin Klein, Chanel, Donna Karan, Gap, Gianfranco Ferré, Gianni Versace, Giorgio Armani, Levi's, Pirelli, Polo Ralph Lauren, Valentino among others. Since 1988 he directed numerous influential and award winning music videos and commercials. His fine art photography has been the subject of exhibitions worldwide, with works residing in many significant public and private collections. In his life and work, Herb Ritts was drawn to clean lines and strong forms. This graphic simplicity allowed his images to be read and felt instantaneously. They often challenged conventional notions of gender or race. Social history and fantasy were both captured and created by his memorable photographs of noted individuals in film, fashion, music, politics and society. Ritts was committed to HIV/AIDS related causes, and contributed to many charitable organizations, among them amfAR, Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation, Project Angel Food, Focus on AIDS, APLA, Best Buddies and Special Olympics . He was also a charter member on the Board of Directors for The Elton John Aids Foundation.Source: www.herbritts.com Born in Los Angeles, to a Jewish family, Ritts began his career working in the family furniture business. His father, Herb Ritts Sr., was a businessman, while his mother, Shirley Ritts, was an interior designer. He moved to the East Coast to attend Bard College in New York, where he majored in economics and art history, graduating in 1975. Later, while living in Los Angeles, he became interested in photography when he and friend Richard Gere, then an aspiring actor, decided to shoot some photographs in front of an old jacked-up Buick. The picture gained Ritts some coverage and he began to be more serious about photography. During the 1980s and 1990s, Ritts prominently photographed celebrities in various locales throughout California. Some of his subjects during this time included Cher, Tina Turner. Elizabeth Taylor, Vincent Price, Madonna, Denzel Washington, Johnny Depp, Ronald Reagan, David Bowie, Courtney Love, Liv Tyler, Matthew McConaughey, Britney Spears, Björk, Prince, Michael Jackson, Axl Rose, Slash, and Mariah Carey. He also took many fashion and nude photographs of fashion models Naomi Campbell, Stephanie Seymour, Tatjana Patitz, Christy Turlington, and Cindy Crawford, including "Tatjana, Veiled Head, Tight View, Joshua Tree, 1988." Ritts' work with those models ushered in the 1990s era of the supermodel and was consecrated by one of his most celebrated images, "Stephanie, Cindy, Christy, Tatjana, Naomi, Hollywood, 1989" taken for Rolling Stone Magazine. He also worked for Interview, Esquire, Mademoiselle, Glamour, GQ, Newsweek, Harper's Bazaar, Rolling Stone, Time, Vogue, Allure, Vanity Fair, Details, and Elle. From 1996 to 1997 Ritts' work was displayed at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, attracting more than 250,000 people to the exhibit, and in 2003 a solo exhibition was held at the Daimaru Museum, in Kyoto, Japan. On December 26, 2002, Ritts died in Los Angeles of complications from pneumonia at the age of 50. Ritts was openly gay, and according to Ritts' publicist, "Herb was HIV-positive, but this particular pneumonia was not PCP (pneumocystis pneumonia), a common opportunistic infection of AIDS. But at the end of the day, his immune system was compromised."Source: Wikipedia
Lee Jeffries
United Kingdom
Lee Jeffries lives in Manchester in the United Kingdom. Close to the professional football circle, this artist starts to photograph sporting events. A chance meeting with a young homeless girl in the streets of London changes his artistic approach forever. Lee Jeffries recalls that, initially, he had stolen a photo from this young homeless girl huddled in a sleeping bag. The photographer knew that the young girl had noticed him but his first reaction was to leave. He says that something made him stay and go and discuss with the homeless girl. His perception of the homeless completely changes. They become the subject of his art. The models in his photographs are homeless people that he has met in Europe and in the United States: "Situations arose, and I made an effort to learn to get to know each of the subjects before asking their permission to do their portrait." From then onwards, his photographs portray his convictions and his compassion to the world. "If you will forgive my indulgence, This work is most definitely NOT photojournalism. Nor is it intended as portraiture. It's religious or spiritual iconography. It's powerful stuff. Jeffries gave these people something more than personal dignity. He gave them a light in their eyes that depicts transcendence, a glimmer of light at the gates of Eden, so to speak. The clarity in their eyes is awesome to behold as if God is somewhere in there. He has made these people into more than poor old broken homeless people lazily waiting for a handout from some urbane and thoughtful corporate agent. He infused them with light, not darkness. Even the blind guy has light pouring from his sightless eyes. I think Jeffries intended his art to honor these people, not pity them. He honors those people by giving their likenesses a greater meaning. He gives them a religious spiritual significance. He imbues them with the iconic soul of humanity. I think that's what he was trying to do, at least to some degree thereof."Source: www.yellowkorner.com Lee Jeffries leads a double life – as a full-time accountant near Manchester, and in his free time as an impassioned photographer of the homeless all over the world. A self-taught photographer who started out taking pictures of stock in a bike shop, his epiphany came in April 2008 when, on the eve of running the London Marathon, he snatched a long-lens image of a homeless girl huddling in a doorway, and felt compelled to apologize to her when she called him out for it. Their resulting conversation changed not only his approach to photography; it changed his life. Since that day Lee has been on a mission to raise awareness of – and funds for – the homeless. His work features street people from the UK, Europe, and the US whom he gets to know by living rough with them, the relationship between them enabling him to capture a searing intimacy and authenticity in his portraits. He has published two critically acclaimed fund-raising books, Lost Angels and Homeless, worked with the Salvation Army on a major campaign, and donated the half-dozen cameras he's won in prestigious imaging competitions to charity. He estimates he's given thousands of pounds of his own money to help those he photographs. All this, and he's still 'an amateur'. Source: Nikon In-Frame Read Our Exclusive Interview with Lee Jeffries
Nieves Mingueza
Nieves Mingueza is a lens-based, mixed media artist working with experimental photography, collage and text. Born in Spain, based in London. The often-cinematic themes in her projects have in common her fascination with old books, film stills, vintage cameras, poetry and minimal drawings. Ultimately, Nieves' work is about the foggy relationship between fiction and reality. In addition, she is currently exploring about immigration, mental health and human conflicts. Nieves' work has been exhibited widely, including Copeland Gallery -Peckham 24-, les Rencontres Internationales de la Photographie d'Arles, Fondazione Giorgio Cini, Retina Scottish International Photography Festival, The Royal Academy of Arts, PhotoEspaña, Saatchi Gallery and Tate Britain. Publications that have featured her work include Editorial 8mm, Fisheye magazine, Der Greif magazine, Low Light Magazine, Shots magazine, Eyemazing, Sarmad Magazine, YET Magazine and L'oeil de la photographie, among others. Lens Culture also featured a selection of her works. Recently, in July 2019, her first monograph book was released by IIKKI Books Editorial. About The malady of Suzanne "A few months ago, I moved to my new flat in South London. Once settled in my new home, I realised that the building had previously been a mental health hospital. In this hospital, people with mental health issues were treated and helped to reintegrate into society. One night, I was relaxing, reading in my living room. There was a sepulchral silence, and suddenly I heard a noise coming from the ceiling. I was scared and I noticed that there was a small loft. The next day, a neighbour helped me open the loft. Unexpectedly, we found a suitcase that contained photos, letters and documents that had belonged to a woman named Suzanne. Reading her letters, I learned that she was a Vietnamese woman who had been a teacher in her home country. There, she fell in love with an Englishman, and finally they decided to move to London together. This happened in 70s. Apparently she began to experience signs of a rare disease: loss of speech and isolation behaviour. I also found out from her documents that she had changed her name in London, because her real name was very difficult to pronounce for English people. She called herself Suzanne in honour of Leonard Cohen's song. By combining found archives with my documentary photography work, I am exploring the story of a Vietnamese female with mental issues in 70's London. This is an on-going project about the complex relationship between memory, immigration, mental health and human conflicts. Additionally, is there any reciprocation between Suzanne and myself? We have both lived in the same space. I am an immigrant in London, I work in a school, and I have modified my name because it was difficult for my students to pronounce. I also love silence. " -- Nieves Mingueza
Michelle Frankfurter
United States
1961
Born in Jerusalem, Israel Michelle Frankfurter is a documentary photographer, currently living in Takoma Park, Maryland. A graduate from Syracuse University with a bachelor’s degree in English, Michelle has been recognized, published and exhibited worldwide. Before settling in the Washington, DC area, Frankfurter spent three years living in Nicaragua, where she worked as a stringer for the British news agency, Reuters and with the human rights organization Witness For Peace documenting the effects of the contra war on civilians. In 1995, a long-term project on Haiti earned her two World Press Photo awards. Since 2000, Frankfurter has concentrated on the border region between the United States and Mexico and on themes of migration. She is a 2013 winner of the Aaron Siskind Foundation grant, a 2011 Top 50 Critical Mass winner, a finalist for the 2011 Aftermath Project and the 2012 Foto Evidence Book Award for her project Destino, documenting the journey of Central American migrants across Mexico. Her first book, Destino was published in September 2014 by Foto Evidence. About Destino Meaning both "destination" and "destiny" in Spanish, Destino portrays the perilous journey of undocumented Central American migrants along the network of freight trains lurching inexorably across Mexico, towards the hope of finding work in the United States. It is the odyssey of a generation of exiles across a landscape that is becoming increasingly dangerous, heading towards a precarious future as an option of last resorts. Unlike Mexican migration to the United States that dates back to the 1880's, the unprecedented wave of Central American migration began a full century later, the consequence of bloody civil wars, U.S. Cold War-era intervention in the region and crippling international trade policies. Those regional conflicts left a legacy of drug and gang related violence, a high incidence of domestic abuse, and unrelenting poverty. Migration as an issue is current; the story of migration is timeless. Having grown up on the adventure tales of Jack London and Mark Twain, and then later on Cormac McCarthy's border stories, there is no storyline more compelling to me than one involving a youthful odyssey across a hostile wilderness. With a singularity of purpose and a kind of brazen resilience, migrants traverse deadly terrain, relying mostly on their wits and the occasional kindness of strangers. In documenting a journey both concrete and figurative, I convey the experience of individuals who struggle to control their own destiny when confronted by extreme circumstances, much like the anti-hero protagonists of the adventure tales I grew up reading. About The Island I made five trips to Haiti between 1993 and 1995. During that time, a de facto government held the island nation captive, while an international trade embargo intended to oust the regime made life miserable for Haiti's poor. An American-led military intervention restored exiled president, Jean Bertrand Aristide to power. This series depicts the recycled repression, regional isolation, imprisonment, and liberation throughout Haiti's turbulent history.
Bert Stern
United States
1929 | † 2013
Bertram Stern (October 3, 1929 – June 26, 2013) was a self-taught American commercial photographer. He was the son of Jewish immigrants and grew up in Brooklyn. His father worked as a children’s portrait photographer. After dropping out of high school at the age of 16, he gained a job in the mail room at Look magazine. He became art director at Mayfair magazine, where Stern learned how to develop film and make contact sheets, and started taking his own pictures. In 1951, Stern was drafted into the US Army and was sent to Japan and assigned to the photographic department. In the 1960s Stern's heavy use of amphetamines, led to the destruction to his marriage to Balanchine ballerina, Allegra Kent. By the late 1970s Stern returned to the U.S. to photograph portraits and fashion. He was the subject of the 2010 documentary, "Bert Stern: Original Madman," directed by his secret wife, Shannah Laumeister. Ms. Laumeister and Stern never lived together, and Stern had a long standing relationship of 20+ years with Lynette Lavender who was his constant and devoted companion. His first professional assignment was in 1955 for a Madison Avenue advertising agency for Smirnoff vodka. His best known work is arguably The Last Sitting, is a collection of 2,500 photographs taken for Vogue of Marilyn Monroe over a three-day period, six weeks before her death. Stern's book The Last Sitting was published in 1982 and again in 2000. He has photographed Audrey Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor, Madonna, Kylie Minogue, Drew Barrymore and Lindsay Lohan (recreating The Last Sitting), among others, in addition to his work for advertising and travel publications.(Source: en.wikipedia.org)
Jerry Uelsmann
United States
1934 | † 2022
Jerry N. Uelsmann (born June 11, 1934) is an American photographer, and was the forerunner of photomontage in the 20th century in America. Uelsmann was born in Detroit, Michigan. While attending public schools, at the age of fourteen, there sparked an interest in photography. He believed that through photography he could exist outside of himself, to live in a world captured through the lens. Despite poor grades, he managed to land a few jobs, primarily photographs of models. Eventually Uelsmann went on to earn a BA from the Rochester Institute of Technology and M.S. and M.F.A. degrees from Indiana University. Soon after, he began teaching photography at the University of Florida in 1960. In 1967, Uelsmann had his first solo exhibit at The Museum of Modern Art which opened doors for his photography career. Uelsmann is a master printer, producing composite photographs with multiple negatives and extensive darkroom work. He uses up to a dozen enlargers at a time to produce his final images, and has a large archive of negatives that he has shot over the years. The negatives that Uelsmann uses are known to reappear within his work, acting as a focal point in one work, and background as another. Similar in technique to Rejlander, Uelsmann is a champion of the idea that the final image need not be tied to a single negative, but may be composed of many. During the mid-twentieth century, when photography was still being defined, Uelsmann didn't care about the boundaries given by the Photo Secessionists or other realists at the time, he simply wished to share with the viewer the images from his imagination and saw photomontage as the means by which to do so. Unlike Rejlander, though, he does not seek to create narratives, but rather "allegorical surrealist imagery of the unfathomable". Uelsmann is able to subsist on grants and teaching salary, rather than commercial work. Today, with the advent of digital cameras and Photoshop, photographers are able to create a work somewhat resembling Uelsmann's in less than a day, however, at the time Uelsmann was considered to have almost "magical skill" with his completely analog tools. At the time Uelsmann's work first came to popular attention, photos were still widely regarded as unfalsifiable documentary evidence of events. However, Uelsmann, along with Lucas Samaras, was considered an avant garde shatterer of this popular mindset and help to expand the artistic boundaries of photography. Despite his works' affinity with digital techniques, Uelsmann continues to use traditional equipment. “I am sympathetic to the current digital revolution and excited by the visual options created by the computer. However, I feel my creative process remains intrinsically linked to the alchemy of the darkroom.”[3] Today he is retired from teaching and currently lives in Gainesville, Florida with his third wife, Maggie Taylor.[4] Uelsmann has one son, Andrew, who is a graduate student at the University of Florida. But to this day, Uelsmann still produces photos, sometimes creating more than a hundred in a single year. Out of these images, he likes to sit back and select the ten he likes the most, which is not an easy process. (Source: en.wikipedia.org)
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