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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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More Great Photographers To Discover

Hyun De Grande
South Korea/Belgium
1987
My name is Hyun De Grande. I was born in Seoul, South Korea in 1987 and I was adopted to Belgium when I was around 4 months old. I grew up in a small town called Oostkamp together with my parents and my brother, who is also adopted. At the age of 15, I started studying film and photography at the Art Academy in Bruges, which was my introduction to both artforms. After two more years of studying film at the School of Arts in Ghent, I moved to Brussels in 2008 to specialize in cinematography at the RITCS. I'm still residing in Brussels, and I currently work as a cinematographer in the narrative and commercial fields. Street photography is a passion to which I love devoting my energy to in between jobs. It's obvious that my cinematography background has heavily influenced my photography style, yet I try to approach things in a different way when I'm taking pictures compared to shooting a movie. It's mainly much more personal because I don't share the creative process with other people, which allows me to explore themes that are closer to myself as a person. Statement As a photographer I'm very fascinated by the feelings of loneliness, isolation and/or alienation because they strongly resonate with me personally. Perhaps it can be back-tracked to my adoption, which has created a sense of never really feeling at home anywhere I go, and therefore these emotions have always been a big part of my life. Esthetically, I'm mainly looking for clear shapes and lines as an arena for my subjects, both coming from light and/or architecture. I feel that the solidity of these shapes enhances the fragility of the people portrayed within these lines. Trapped or lost in a cold and unforgiving environment. I also love working in a wider frame as it allows me to use that extra horizontal space to evoke emptiness. I find it interesting to utilize the surroundings of my characters to create emotional context, even when these surroundings are blank or abstract. I use a 2:1 ratio on all of my photographs, which stems from my cinematography background.
Gabriele Viertel
German fine art photographer, born near Cologne, Gabriele Viertel now lives and works in Eindhoven, Netherlands. She grew up as the youngest of 3 children in a rural area with an extended family of aunts, uncles and cousins. Inspired by her father, an avid filmmaker and amateur photographer, she took for the first time at the age of 14 his analogue camera to photograph the children of the family. During the education in technical design, she worked as a model to fund the studie. Completed the degree, Gabriele decided to move on to pursue the international career as a model and worked more than a decade for designers such as Dior and Karl Lagerfeld. Since 2008 she dedicated herself entirely to the art of photography as a freelance artist. Conceptually, Viertel's images play with the dialog between the mediums of painting and photography. The magical, often surreal pictorial language and the chiaroscuro light are characteristic means of expression. The major part of her works is staged underwater. Gabriele has received numerous awards, most recently the platin award of Graphis New York, the gold medal of the International Color Award, the silver medal of Prix de la Photographie Paris as well as the Merit Award of Best of Contemporary Photography, Fort Wayne Museum of Art. Her work has been featured in international exhibitions and publications in Europe and North America, notably the Museum of Art Fort Wayne and the Heritage Municipal Museum Malaga. One book on her work has been published by Associazione Artistico Culturale Cameraraw.it. Gabriele's works are in the public collections of the Fort Wayne Museum of Art, Indiana USA and the University of Art, Rotterdam NL as well as in various private collections.
Sem Langendijk
The Netherlands
1990
Sem Langendijk is a documentary photographer with an interest in communities and their habitat, the urban environment and spatial arrangements. He observes the identity of a place, the impact communities have on their environments, and how space functions within the structures of a city. Langendijk shoots on large and medium format cameras, and aims to imbue his subjects with a certain tranquility. He continues to balance his work on the very narrow edge between visual storytelling and poetic personal documentation. Langendijk studied documentary photography at the Royal Academy of Arts, The Hague. In 2018, he was a recipient of the Mondrian Fund Stipendium for Emerging Artists and his work is exhibited at multiple art fairs and festivals, most recently 'The American Landscape', a group show travelling the US with The Gallery Club. He is currently working in Amsterdam, Londen and New York, on a personal body of work, continuing his research about the former Docklands. As an artist I intend to raise questions about the concept of 'the city' in our time. What role does history play in the identity of place, and feeling of belonging? How does ownership of (private) property relate to the right of the city? Through working with communities and researching their habitats I try to reveal (economical and political) systems that influence today's city life. My visual work is loosely related to social geography and anthropology, as I do field research and create visual notes. I combine this with more structured and methodological work, such as typologies. With these approaches I mean to reflect upon, as well as creating a more personal excerpt of, reality.
Wiktor Franko
Poland
1983
Wiktor Franko, born in Kielce in 1983. He completed Polish Language Studies at the Swietokrzyska Academy, then got involved in photography and he has ever since been preoccupied with it. He deals with both fine art and commercial photography. His photographs have been published in a number of professional magazines, such as Prism Magazine, Camerapixo, Pokochaj Fotografie, Fabrikon Magazine, Musli Magazine, Confashion and a Chinese Prime Magazine. He exhibited his works at a few collective and individual exhibitions, and his photographs were awarded in a variety of photo contests - he was twice awarded in a prestigious Viva Photo Awards and two local contests Zycie Jest Piekne and Kielce Inaczej (he was a jury member with Pawel Pierscinski in the last two editions of Kielce Inaczej contest). Wiktor Franko was a collaborator of Charaktery magazine, and a number of his images were placed on the cover of that magazine. His photographs can also be found on book covers. On two occasions, he took photographs of famous people from the world of business, culture and politics, including a portrait photo depicting Malgorzata Tusk, Prime Minister's wife for Philanthropist's Calendar, a publication that is of importance for the region. Wiktor Franco is the author of three posters for The Off Fashion, a European contest for fashion designers that is held in Kielce. Initially, Wiktor's development as a photographer ran parallel to his stay in London, where he shot photos of jazz and rock music stars, including Marillion, King Crimson, Porcupine Tree, Archive, Chic Corea, Jan Garbarek. Currently, Wiktor is engaged in making music albums covers of Polish artists, including Strefa Ciszy, Lebowski. In his photographs, Wiktor Franko frequently uses literary motifs and allusions (a cycle devoted to Milan Kundera's novels). His works, strongly influenced by surrealism, are often defined as painterly. As he himself says, what is most important for him in photography is the atmosphere, a particular mood and surprise.Source: Galeria Winda
Mauro De Bettio
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AAP Magazine #22: Streets
AAP Magazine #22: Streets
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