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Ragnar Axelsson
Ragnar Axelsson
Ragnar Axelsson

Ragnar Axelsson

Country: Iceland
Birth: 1958

For over 40 years, Ragnar Axelsson, Rax, has been photographing the people, animals, and landscape of the most remote regions of the Arctic, including Iceland, Siberia, and Greenland. In stark black-and-white images, he captures the elemental, human experience of nature at the edge of the liveable world, making visible the extraordinary relationships between the people of the Arctic and their extreme environment – relationships now being altered in profound and complex ways by the unprecedented changes in climate.

A photojournalist at Morgunbladid since 1976, Ragnar has also worked on free-lance assignment in Latvia, Lithuania, Mozambique, South Africa, China, and Ukraine. His photographs have been featured in LIFE, Newsweek, Stern, GEO, National Geographic, Time, and Polka, and have been exhibited widely.

Ragnar has published 7 books in various international editions. His most recent, Jökull (Glacier) was published in 2018, with a foreword by Olafur Eliasson. Andlit Nordursins (The Face of The North), was published in 2016, with a foreword by Mary Ellen Mark, and won the 2016 Icelandic Literary Prize for non-fiction.

Other awards for Ragnar's work include numerous Icelandic Photojournalist Awards; The Leica Oskar Barnack Award (Honorable Mention); The Grand Prize, Photo de Mer, Vannes; and Iceland's highest honor, the Order of the Falcon, Knight's Cross.

Ragnar is currently working on a 3-year project documenting people's lives in all 8 countries of the Arctic. At this pivotal time, as climate change irrevocably disrupts the physical and traditional realities of their world, Ragnar is bearing witness to the immediate and direct threat global warming poses to their survival.

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More Great Photographers To Discover

Szymon Barylski
Poland
1984
Szymon Barylski Polish freelance photographer born in 1984 based in Ireland. He has been published, among others, The Irish Times, National Geographic Poland, The Eye of Photography, Edge of Humanity Magazine. He has had a number of exhibitions in many countries including 3rd Documentary Photography Days in Istambul, MIFA Photography, The SE Centre for Photography- Documentary Photography. His pictures were awarded in many competitions. Szymon is involved in documentary photography and photo essays. Photographing for he is a tool for exploring and learning about the world. He tries to tell a story and show it directly. In his opinion, people are an inexhaustible topic and a source of inspiration. Szymon said: „When traveling, I meet people; as a result, I create the image of my relation with them. The exploration of the environment where I take photos allow me to create emotional and convincing scenes.“ He thinks you cannot photograph the things you do not know well. That is why he prepares himself for each project individually, accurately, going into detail in the newspapers and on the Internet. Next, he looks for an inspiration in other photographer’s photos and conversations, as a result, he can create real pictures. His own narrative presented in his photos are at the same time very personal and common. Szymon thinks that a lot of people can identify themselves with his works. Photographer wish his photos could increase individual and collective awareness about the social, political and economic need and urge people to act, be part of positive changes.
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David Goldblatt was born in 1930 in Randfontein, South Africa. He has photographed the structures, people and landscapes of his country since 1948. In 1989, Goldblatt founded the Market Photography Workshop in Johannesburg. In 1998 he was the first South African to be given a solo exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. In 2001, a retrospective of his work, David Goldblatt Fifty-One Years began a tour of galleries and museums. He was one of the few South African artists to exhibit at Documenta 11 (2002) and Documenta 12 (2007) in Kassel, Germany. He has held solo exhibitions at the Jewish Museum and the New Museum, both in New York. His work was included in the exhibition ILLUMInations at the 54th Venice Biennale in 2011, and has featured on shows at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and Barbican Centre in London and in 2018, a major retrospective at the Centre Pompidou in Paris. Goldblatt is the recipient of the 2006 Hasselblad award, the 2009 Henri Cartier-Bresson Award, the 2013 ICP Infinity Award and in 2016, he was awarded the Commandeur des Arts et des Lettres by the Ministry of Culture of France.Source: Goodman Gallery He shot mostly in black-and-white for much of his career. In 1998 the Museum of Modern Art in New York gave him a solo exhibition. Its 40 photographs were all black-and-white because, he explained, "color seemed too sweet a medium to express the anger, disgust and fear that apartheid inspired." But in the 1990s Mr. Goldblatt began working in color, adapting to the digital age. "I’ve found the venture into color quite exciting," he said in 2011, "largely because new technology has enabled me to work with color on the computer as I have done with black and white in the darkroom."Source: The New York Times David Goldblatt was South African photographer known for his uncompromising images of his country during apartheid and afterward. “I was very interested in the events that were taking place in the country as a citizen but, as a photographer, I’m not particularly interested, and I wasn’t then, in photographing the moment that something happens. I’m interested in the conditions that give rise to events,” he once explained. Born on November 29, 1930 in Randfontein, South Africa, he began photographing at an early age but his father’s illness required Goldblatt to run his family business while studying at Witwatersrand University in Johannesburg. After selling the company in 1963, Goldblatt focused entirely on a career in photography. His involvement with various artistic circles in Johannesburg granted him access to a broad range of ethnic and socioeconomic groups. Though he refused to belong to any political organization and argued that his photographs should not be used for propaganda purposes, his works were presented in an exhibition organized by an anti-apartheid photographer’s collective in 1990. In 1998, Goldblatt became the first South African artist to have a solo exhibition at The Museum of Modern Art in New York. The artist died on June 25, 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Today, his photographs are held in the collections of the South African National Gallery in Cape Town, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, and the Fotomuseum Winterthur in Switzerland, among others.Source: Artnet
Graeme Williams
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I grew up in the whites-only suburbs of Cape Town, South Africa during the apartheid era, when South African law decreed that 92% of the population were regulated to the status of second-class citizens. My interest in photography began at the age of twelve, but I soon realized that a Kodak Instamatic was never going to produce the results that I wanted. I worked for three years in a bookshop and eventually bought myself a Fujica ST701. It was a real thing of beauty; a single reflex camera with a basic zoom lens, that provided me with the means to control how light formed itself onto the surface of the silver halide film. Sunsets and silhouettes held my attention for a few months, but I had already begun to explore the complex tradition of photographic expression. Life Magazine was for me, at that time, the Holy Grail. Over the years, my enthusiasm for exploring the photographic medium has never diminished. My photographic momentum was temporarily diverted after school by parental pressure to obtain a 'proper' qualification. In my final school year I was both the Dux scholar as well as a first team sportsman, which resulted in me being offered a De Beers bursary to study Geology and Statistics at the University of Cape Town. After graduating, I broke the news to my unnerved parents that I was giving up this career path and instead becoming a property photographer at the local newspaper. In the hierarchy of photographic jobs this is very close to the bottom. My immediate aim was to gain access to unlimited amounts of film and the time to work on my own projects. In 1987 I began photographing a conscientious objector and medical doctor, Ivan Toms, who refused to comply with the apartheid government's military service requirements. He was sentenced to 21 months in prison. The essay, highlighted the absurdity of the political system. 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These essays have been shown in solo exhibitions in New York, London, Paris, Cape Town and Johannesburg as well as numerous photo festivals around the world. (Including China, Singapore, Brazil, Cambodia, France, and the USA). I have been privileged to have been included in major international exhibitions showcasing contemporary South African photography; including Figures and Fictions at London's Victoria and Albert Museum, Apartheid and After at Huis Marseille in Amsterdam, Earth Matters at the Smithsonian in New York, The Rise and Fall of Apartheid at the ICP in New York and Being There, at the Louis Vuitton Foundation in Paris. Awards include the CAP Prize for Contemporary African Photography (Basel) in 2013, and the Ernest Cole Award (South Africa) in the same year. I have continued working on commissioned assignments and traveling to over fifty countries. My photographs have appeared on the cover of Time magazine twice, and have been published in The New York Times Magazine, National Geographic, Newsweek, Stern, and many others. Whilst working on my long-term projects, I try to bear in mind how the work will be exhibited and published. So therefore, during the planning and photographing stages, I attempt to create a broad context for my essays, that includes a general look and feel, while creating the space for each image to convey its individual complexity. This need to develop a dual awareness in my personal work has benefitted from a long-term interest in designing and producing photobooks. I have created over 20 publications, some of them winning awards and many being shortlisted in dummy book competitions. During the past five years I have felt a need to shift my attention from South Africa to the America social, political and physical landscape. 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Griffiths' assignments, often self-engineered, took him to more than 120 countries. He continued to work for major publications such as Life and Geo on stories such as Buddhism in Cambodia, droughts in India, poverty in Texas, the re-greening of Vietnam, and the legacy of the Gulf War in Kuwait. His continued revisiting of Vietnam, examining the legacy of the war, lead to his two further books ‘Agent Orange’ and ‘Vietnam at Peace’. Griffiths' work reflects on the unequal relationship between technology and humanity, summed up in his book Dark Odyssey. Human foolishness always attracted Griffiths' eye, but, faithful to the ethics of the Magnum founders, he believed in human dignity and in the capacity for improvement. Philip Jones Griffiths died at home in West London on 19th March 2008From en.wikipedia.orgJones Griffiths was born in Rhuddlan, to Joseph Griffiths, who supervised the local trucking service of the London, Midland and Scottish Railway, and Catherine Jones, Rhuddlan's district nurse, who ran a small maternity clinic at home. He studied pharmacy in Liverpool and worked in London as the night manager at the Piccadilly branch of Boots, while also working as a part-time photographer for the Manchester Guardian. His first photograph was of a friend, taken with the family Brownie in a rowboat off Holyhead. Jones Griffiths never married, saying it was a "bourgeois" notion, but that he had had "significant" relationships. Survived by Fanella Ferrato and Katherine Holden, his daughters from long-term relationships with Donna Ferrato and Heather Holden. He died from cancer on March 19, 2008. Journalist John Pilger wrote in tribute to Griffiths soon after his death: "I never met a foreigner who cared as wisely for the Vietnamese, or about ordinary people everywhere under the heel of great power, as Philip Jones Griffiths. He was the greatest photographer and one of the finest journalists of my lifetime, and a humanitarian to match…. His photographs of ordinary people, from his beloved Wales to Vietnam and the shadows of Cambodia, make you realise who the true heroes are. He was one of them." Griffiths started work as a full-time freelance photographer in 1961 for the Observer, travelling to Algeria in 1962. He arrived in Vietnam in 1966, working for the Magnum agency. Magnum found his images difficult to sell to American magazines, as they concentrated on the suffering of the Vietnamese people and reflected his view of the war as an episode in the continuing decolonisation of former European possessions. However, he was eventually able to get a scoop that the American outlets liked: photographs of Jackie Kennedy vacationing with a male friend in Cambodia. The proceeds from these photos enabled him to continue his coverage of Vietnam and to publish Vietnam Inc. in 1971. Vietnam Inc. had a major influence on American perceptions of the war, and became a classic of photojournalism. The book was the result of Griffiths' three years work in the country and it stands as one of the most detailed surveys of any conflict, including descriptions of the horrors of the war as well as a study of Vietnamese rural life and views from serving American soldiers. Probably one of its most quoted passages is of a US army source discussing napalm: ‘We sure are pleased with those backroom boys at Dow. The original product wasn’t so hot - if the gooks were quick they could scrape it off. So the boys started adding polystyrene - now it sticks like shit to a blanket. But if the gooks jumped under water it stopped burning, so they started adding Willie Peter (white phosphorus) so’s to make it burn better. And just one drop is enough, it’ll keep on burning right down to the bone so they die anyway from phosphorus poisoning.’ The South Vietnamese president, Nguyen Van Thieu, criticized Griffiths' work, remarking "Let me tell you there are many people I don't want back in my country, but I can assure you Mr. Griffiths name is at the top of the list." In 1973, Griffiths covered the Yom Kippur War. He then worked in Cambodia from 1973 to 1975. In 1980, he became the president of Magnum, a position he then held for five years. In 2001 Vietnam Inc. was reprinted with a foreword by Noam Chomsky. Subsequent books have included Dark Odyssey, a collection of his best pictures, and Agent Orange, dealing with the impact of the US defoliant Agent Orange on postwar generations in Vietnam. After becoming aware of his terminal condition, Jones Griffiths launched a foundation to preserve his archives. His daughters helm the foundation, which as of July 2008 lacked a permanent home. Source: www.magnumphotos.com
Denis Olivier
France
1969
My first encounter with photography took place when my parents performed some strange static dances with an object in front of their face. Later they would close themselves up in a special room under the house for long periods of time, and no one was allowed in. They diligently made sure that they were left to their own devices while inside. One day I was given permission to enter the room and allowed to stay, but on the condition that I didn't move or went out. I remember there was a unique chemical perfume and a red light. I was bewildered: my parents appeared flashing a white light on a piece of paper using a strange apparatus. Then they dipped it into a clear liquid and Behold! I couldn't believe it, A miracle! They were wizards who created pictures. In the following years I didn't really follow his experiments, I was too young to manipulate cameras and I preferred to draw. Photography, Architecture and Art was always present around us and I still remember the black and white exhibitions that we visited. When I was a teenager, I continued to draw and started to paint a little. I even took part in some local exhibitions. At the age of 17 I began to take some photographs, I was especially fascinated by mineralogical micro mounts. I started studying biochemistry, but after 3 years I changed to Poitiers school of fine-arts, and took an interest in computer graphics and generated imagery. While I was there I meet Alain Fleig who introduced me to art photography. I also felt a need to practice photography, and with a friend we spent a lot of time learning how to develop films and photographs. We did sessions with models, scenery, and discovered France. The second year I had my first personal exhibition in a gallery, which was a great experience, then a training placement with Philippe Salaün, who was at this time Robert Doisneau's developer. Following this I did some jobs for organizations, shows and commissioned works. I then started in December 1995 working with computer graphics and made use of the Internet. I worked in artistic direction for several years, then digital cameras came along and I found a way to work quickly and experiment without using too many resources such as film, chemicals, photo sensitive paper and of course the wonderful resource of water.
Younes Mohammad
Younes Mohammad is Born in 1968 in Dohuk, Iraq. He's a Kurdish freelance photographer mostly active on assignments for newspapers, magazines, etc. He spent his life in Iran as a refugee from 1974 - 1998 and graduated with an MBA University of Tehran. Photography was his passion but he had no chance to follow it while the war situation was still continuing Under Saddam's time. In 2011 he quits his job and starts his journey as a photographer. His work has been exhibited internationally and published widely in publications. He has received numerous awards. He is now based in Erbil, Iraq. Open Wounds: I start to work on a long-term project documenting the sacrifices of Kurdish Peshmerga in the fight to put down ISIS. Speaking with hundred Peshmerga, taking intimate portraits of the wounded fighters, their families, and documenting both the stories in the battle and their ongoing struggles to navigate post-conflict life. Through the work, I found stories of immense suffering. Fighters who took up arms, not because they were required to do so, but because it was right and it was what had to be done. These men, often fighting side by side with brothers, uncles, cousins, fathers, and sons, knew that the freedom and survival of their people were at stake. As they retold stories of watching family and friends killed in front of them and of battles they did not expect to survive, they simultaneously shed tears for the losses and for the pride they had in what their comrades and they had done. Almost all of the men showed severe physical injury. Arms, legs, and eyes lost. Bodies so riddled with bullet and shrapnel wounds that simple movement created wincing pain. These men also showed the signs of the heavy burdens of the mental traumas, of PTSD, and of memories that would not leave them. Despite all they suffered, they often said they would go back to the fight again if ever called. They would do this for their children, their families, their people, and for the wider world. Tragically, their suffering does not end having returned home. The men face new challenges, such as getting prosthetic limbs, ongoing care, providing for their families despite their debilitating injuries, and more. They wonder, if they would give everything to help protect the world, will the world help them or forget them now that they have put down their guns. I have hope that, through this work exploring conflict and post-conflict humanitarian issues, the World may better understand what these men and their families have given for the Kurdish people, the region, and, in fact, the world.
Laurence Leblanc
Laurence Leblanc was born in Paris in the early days of June 1967. Starting her artistic training early on, she studied drawing, painting, and gravure as a child at the Musée du Louvre’s Ecole des arts décoratifs. Later on Leblanc studied visual art at the Academie Charpentier, at its historic La Grande Chaumiere workshop located in Paris. "Each of us has to tell something that nobody else can tell" -- Wim Wenders. Leblanc always had a deep desire to convey her world a little differently and it was in that spirit that she covered Peter Gabriel’s Secret World Tour in the 90’s, travelling large parts of the world with the British musican over the next two years. In 1999, Leblanc came to the attention of art critic and curator Régis Durand who described her work as : « It exists in these pictures a kind of familiar fantastic, a mix of ordinary poetry and some strangeness » Whatever the medium, the act of creation for Laurence Leblanc comes after gradual impregnation with the subject and his or her environment. The results are often carefully thought-out and reflect both the expansive and minute of the subject and, their context. Cambodian filmmaker Rithy Panh said of Leblanc that: « Her pictures look like souls… the fuzzyness is not fuzzy, the grainy asppearance is not grain, life is not exactly life. Yet it is not death either, and I like being led on this narrow territory between the two » Leblanc is the winner of awards such as the Villa Médicis Hors–Les–Murs scholarship in 2000, and the HSBC Fondation prize in photographie in 2003. In 2003, Peter Gabriel wrote in the preface of her first book Rithy, Chéa, Kim Sour et les autres "Laurence has continued to explore new areas in her work, and I have watched her develop into an extraordinary artist" Leblanc’s second book Seul l’air was published in 2009 by Actes Sud. At the same time her exhibition Seul l’air consisting of work from Africa was presented at the 40th International Photography Festival in Arles. Always expanding her range of learning and creating, Leblanc responded to radio producer and writer Frank Smith’s proposition to create a sound piece for the Atelier de Création Radiophonique. The final 53 minute sound piece was broadcast on France Culture in July 2008. Leblanc also collaborated on the « Sometimes I think Sometimes I don’t think » project with the Domaine de Chamarande. Bulles de silence, a 19 minutes film, written, produced and directed by Leblanc, was selected and premiered at the Museum’s Night in the Niepce’s Museum in May 2015. Laurence Leblanc silently follows her own solitary artistic path which leads her to the field of contemporary photographic creativity, yet her strongest ally is time, the time given (and taken by the artist) to observe and to mature. Represented by the Claude Samuel gallery in 1999 then by the VU’ gallery from 2001 to 2015 Leblanc is a regular at: Art Paris, Art genève, and at Paris Photo since her début there in 1998. Leblanc’s works can be found in collections ranging from the prestigious National Trust for Contemporary Art in France, the Niépce Museum in Chalon-sur Saône, the French National Library, the HSBC Fondation & Collection, as well as in various private collections includng that of Marin Karmitz. We can see one of her picture in the exhibition « Etranger résident » Marin Karmitz’s collection from 15 october 2017 to 21 january 2018 in la maison rouge – fondation Antoine de Galbert. Source: laurenceleblanc.com
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