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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 (Faces 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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Helga Paris
Germany
1938
Helga Steffens, daughter of Gertrud Steffens and typesetter Wilhelm Steffens, was born just over a year before the outbreak of the Second World War in Gollnow, a small town then in the north of Germany. In May 1945 she celebrated her seventh birthday, while the war ended in defeat for Germany. Her father and two brothers were still away, but in the meantime frontier changes mandated by the victorious powers and large scale ethnic cleansing forced Helga's mother to flee with her two daughters. They ended up in Zossen, a small town a little to the south of Berlin. There she was raised by a community of mostly women, many of whom worked. She is introduced to photography by her aunts who take many photographs. In Zossen she went to school and successfully passed her School leaving exams in 1956. After this, till 1960, she studied fashion design at the School of Engineering for the Clothing Industry ("Berlin Ingenieurschule für Bekleidungsindustrie") in Berlin and undertook, still in Berlin, an internship at VEB Treffmodelle. After this she worked as a fashion lecturer and as a commercial artist. In 1960 she starts to take photographs with a 6x6 Flexaret camera. It was during this time that she met the painter Ronald Paris. They were married between 1961 and 1974. Through her husband she was now quickly able to establish contacts in the East German artistic scene of the time. By now she had also acquired a passion for photography. Like many of the German Democratic Republic's leading photographers, Helga Paris is often described as self-taught. She herself believes that much of her photographic passion and skill was acquired from two aunts who were themselves, enthusiastic photographers, constantly taking pictures through the 1940s, 50s, and 60s, which now Paris herself keeps carefully stored in a collection of show boxes adapted for the purpose. Paris began taking photographs seriously around 1967. She was influenced by the work of Edvard Munch, Max Beckmann, Francis Bacon, and Werner Held. Between 1967 and 1968 she worked in the photo laboratory of Walli Baucik. Her first freelance job, in 1969, was to photograph slaughtering at a home in Thüringen; in 1970 she shot fashion photographs for the youth magazine neues leben. In 1972 she joined the National Association of Visual Artists, which was virtually a prerequisite for success in what was now her chosen career. Her professional work is wide-ranging. In 1975 she photographed scenes from productions by Benno Besson at the Berlin Volksbühne ("People's Theatre"). She presented her first personal exhibition in 1978, in Dresden at the Fine Arts Academy. By the 1980s her work was concentrated increasingly on people and streetscapes, initially in Berlin where many of her subjects were neighbours and friends. She encountered greater difficulty when undertaking an equivalent project in Halle where the people she photographed were strangers and reacted with hostility. She then took time to talk to people and ask before photographing them. Under those circumstances, citizens of Halle agreed to be photographed, though there was still reluctance to be photographed with Halle streets as background at a time when a major and long-running redevelopment project scheme involving extensive destruction of old houses was leaving the centre of the city looking badly damaged. Her 1986 exhibition Buildings and Faces: Halle 1983-1985, planned for the city's Marktschlößchen Gallery was cancelled a few days before the scheduled opening date because her pictures gave publicity to the city's misguided building policy. By the time it was cancelled a catalogue and exhibition labels for the photographs had already been printed. Her career as a free-lance photographer survived the changes of 1989/90 which led to the end of the German Democratic Republic, formally in October 1990 with German reunification, and for some commentators and others her photographs from the East German period have gained a wider interest as the period they depict has receded into history. Since 1996 Helga Paris has been a member of the Berlin Academy of Arts. In 2003 her twelve-part exhibition Self images 1981-1988 in the context of the Art in the German Democratic Republic exhibition drew much interest.Source: Wikipedia Buildings and Faces “I’ll take Halle” was Helga Paris’s spontaneous reaction when, at a meeting with colleagues and artists in East Berlin in the early 1980s, fellow photographer Arno Fischer came up with the idea of photographing East Germany systematically as photographers had done in the 1930s and 1940s for the Farm Security Administration on behalf of the US government. Helga Paris rose to the challenge and began to document Halle on her own initiative. The self-taught photographer had previously carried out several photo stories on themes relating to urban and neighborhood life as part of a personal project. She drove from East Berlin to Halle many times between 1983 and 1985. As her daughter lived there at the time, she had developed an affinity to the town. Helga Paris was fascinated by the endangered former beauty of the buildings and considered it her duty to preserve it in pictures before it disappeared completely. She decided to photograph Halle as if it were a “foreign town in a foreign country”. In doing so, she looked at it through the eyes of an explorer, who is inspired and galvanized by a new environment. She started off taking snapshots of urban life, focusing on streets with houses and passers-by. However, the local people, who felt exposed in their “everyday misery”, did not always react favorably. This prompted her to reconsider her approach and eventually to divide the project into portraits of buildings and portraits of people. Helga Paris consciously limited the moment between making contact with her subjects and pressing the shutter to ensure that their gazes were as open as possible. As a result, they seem to be poised in the very second in which they briefly pause for the photographer, but have not yet engaged mentally with the photographic situation. At the time, Halle was primarily putting money into building modern apartments, and the old town center offered a desolate picture with crumbling facades, including those of listed buildings, half-untiled roofs, and ramshackle roads and squares. All this is revealed in Helga Paris’s photographs in high-contrast black-and-white, although it was never her intention to denounce the state of things. However, the SED party leadership found that the picture of the town conveyed in Helga Paris’s images was too negative. As a result, she was barred from opening her exhibition Buildings and Faces at the last minute. Not until 1990, after German reunification, was it allowed to be shown in Halle.Source: Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation
Bill Gekas
Australia
Australia-based photographer Bill Gekas has a real knack for portraiture, particularly the kind that results in an homage to many Old Masters of classic paintings, including artists like Vemeer and Rembrandt. Using his five-year-old daughter as the model, Gekas recreates many mid-18th century settings that are inspired by portraits of adults from famous paintings. He styles the environment and his daughter to fit the time period, and uses strobe lights to maintain the appearance of soft, natural lighting. The self-taught photographer learned on 35mm and has since turned to digital techniques. He uses post-processing to put the final touches on each of his photographs. Through hard work, experimentation, and a grand vision, the talented artist has successfully produced an extensive collection—a tribute to both the well-known artists as well as to his young daughter. As Gekas has evolved as a photographer, so has his unique style. He says "Don’t be scared of taking certain elements from different works and molding them into something to call your own. You might like the lighting from a photo you saw somewhere, a prop from another photo, colors from another. The key is not to limit yourself with the excuse, ‘It’s all been done before.’ Yes, many things have been done before, but with some careful thought you can adjust a concept to give it your signature. Experiment!”From www.billgekas.comMy name is Bill Gekas and I was born and live in Melbourne, Australia. A self taught photographer that learnt the technicals of photography using a 35mm film slr camera from the mid 90's and switched to digital in 2005, practicing the art of photography and constantly refining my style. Source: My Modern Met
Michael Ernest Sweet
Michael Ernest Sweet is a Canadian photographer and arts writer. He is the author of two photography monographs, The Human Fragment and Michael Sweet's Coney Island, both from Brooklyn Arts Press in New York. Michael is best known for his gritty black and white images of people composed at odd angles, which often omit people's faces. His work has been praised by such master photographers as Roger Ballen, Martin Parr, and Jay Maisel. A recipient of many awards, Michael holds both a Prime Minister's Award and a Queen Elizabeth II Medal from Canada for significant contributions to education and the arts. In 2018, Michael appeared in the film, Garry Winogrand: All Things Are Photographable, and again in 2021 in the film, Fill The Frame. Michael is a senior contributing writer for Photo Life Magazine and a former writer for HuffPost. He holds several degrees including a Master of Liberal Arts from The Johns Hopkins University. Michael lives and teaches in New York City. Statement: My photography is about pleasing myself. I do not photograph for an audience. Quite frankly, that would be too hard for me. I make photographs of things that interest me. I like weird angles and odd compositions because they tend to tell a better story. As a writer, I look for the story, not just the image. Photographs need to be able to be read from left to right, all across the frame, just like a good book. Everything in the frame matters. Everything that is not in the frame matters. Most people don't get my work. They don't try hard enough. My photos cannot be consumed in 10 seconds on an iPhone. Those who put in the effort get to see what I saw, get to feel what I felt, and, most importantly get to enjoy the moment as I did when I made the image. For me, a photo that is easy to look at and quick to understand is a boring, pedestrian photograph. I am not here to photograph aunt Betty's Birthday party.
Roman Vishniac
Russia/United States
1897 | † 1990
Roman Vishniac was a Russian-American photographer, best known for capturing on film the culture of Jews in Central and Eastern Europe before the Holocaust. A major archive of his work was housed at the International Center of Photography until 2018, when Vishniac's daughter, Mara Vishniac Kohn, donated it to The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life at the University of California, Berkeley. Vishniac was a versatile photographer, an accomplished biologist, an art collector and teacher of art history. He also made significant scientific contributions to photomicroscopy and time-lapse photography. Vishniac was very interested in history, especially that of his ancestors, and strongly attached to his Jewish roots; he was a Zionist later in life. Roman Vishniac won international acclaim for his photos of shtetlach and Jewish ghettos, celebrity portraits, and microscopic biology. His book A Vanished World, published in 1983, made him famous and is one of the most detailed pictorial documentations of Jewish culture in Eastern Europe in the 1930s. Vishniac was also remembered for his humanism and respect for life, sentiments that can be seen in all aspects of his work. In 2013, Vishniac's daughter Mara (Vishniac) Kohn donated to the International Center of Photography the images and accompanying documents comprising ICP's Roman Vishniac Rediscovered travelling exhibition. In October, 2018, Kohn donated the Vishniac archive of an estimated 30,000 items, including photo negatives, prints, documents and other memorabilia that had been housed at ICP to the Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life, a unit of the University of California at Berkeley's library system.Source: Wikipedia As the Nazis rose to power in Berlin, Vishniac photographed the ominous changes in the city and also worked to document Germany-Jewish relief and social service organizations. In 1935, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (AJDC) hired Vishniac to travel to Eastern Europe and take photographs documenting Jewish poverty and relief efforts to be used in its fundraising campaigns. In 1939, Vishniac pursued other AJDC assignments in Western Europe and worked as a freelance photographer there. After the German invasion of France, he was arrested and sent to an internment camp. With help from the AJDC and the remainder of his family’s resources, he secured the release and immigrated with his wife and two children to the United States via Portugal in December 1940. They settled in New York, where Vishniac worked as a photographer, making portraits and documenting Jewish refugees and American-Jewish community life. In 1947, Vishniac returned to Europe to document the aftermath of the war and the plight of refugees and those living in displaced persons camps. Back in the United States, Vishniac continued his work as photographer and scientist and became a pioneer in the new field of photomicroscopy. Vishniac’s photographs of Jewish life in prewar Eastern Europe gained renown in the aftermath of the Holocaust and were used to illustrate numerous books. Many people today are familiar with his work from his book A Vanished World (1983). However, the public saw only a small fraction of Vishniac’s work before his daughter, Mara Vishniac Kohn, entrusted his images to ICP and the Museum. This project makes them available to the public at large in hopes of learning more about the subjects of his photographs.Source: Unites States Holocaust Memorial Museum As an amateur photographer, Roman Vishniac took to the streets with his camera throughout the 1920s and ’30s, offering an astute, often humorous visual commentary on his adopted city and experimenting with new and modern approaches to framing and composition. Documenting the rise of Nazi power, he focused his lens on the signs of oppression and doom that soon formed the backdrop of his Berlin street photography. From 1935 to 1938, while living in Berlin and working as a biologist and science photographer, he was commissioned by the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), then the world’s largest Jewish relief organization, to photograph impoverished Jewish communities in Central and Eastern Europe. On New Year’s Eve, 1940, he arrived in New York and soon opened a portrait studio. At the same time, he began documenting American Jewish communal and immigrant life and established himself as a pioneer in the field of photomicroscopy. In 1947, Vishniac returned to Europe and documented Jewish displaced persons camps and the ruins of Berlin. During this time, he also recorded the efforts of Holocaust survivors to rebuild their lives and the work of the JDC and other Jewish relief organizations in providing them with aid and emigration assistance.Source: International Center of Photography
Madison Casagranda
United States
Madison Casagranda is a recent graduate from Brigham Young University where she studied photography and art education. She works primarily with alternative photographic processes in the darkroom, and enjoys the hands-on nature of these processes. Her goal is to communicate culturally and historically significant concepts and connect us to the past in order to address challenges in the present day. Her photography most often centers around her personal and family history, United States history, anti racism, and amplifying voices from marginalized communities. She has had two solo exhibitions at BYU and her work has been included in many group exhibitions across the country, including at The Springville Museum of Art, The Southeast Center for Photography, and The Praxis Gallery. Her work has been published in Communication Arts and she is currently working on self publishing a book of her series, The Black Stories Project. The Black Stories Project The wet plate collodion tintype process was first invented in the 1850s and became a primary photographic practice in the 1860s and 1870s, documenting much of the Civil War. The tintypes of the Black Stories Project embody the history of photography and the history of racial inequity in the United States and more specifically in the state of Utah. They draw a connection between the history of racism and the dialogue about race today. In a state where the black population is less than two percent and a dominant religious culture presents a unique and complicated narrative of the past and present, we can only address the current issues of systemic inequality while acknowledging and grappling with the history behind them. This project is a study about how the weight of our state's history and the lens through which it is told, affects how black individuals experience life here today. The Black Stories Project is made up of the portraits and voices of members of the black community here in Utah, and stands as an effort towards opening the conversation, understanding the past and changing the future narrative of our history. The Black Stories Project Madison Casagranda's Website Madison Casagranda on Instagram SOLO EXHIBITION MAY 2021
Sabine Weiss
Switzerland
1924
Sabine Weiss was born in Switzerland in 1924. In 1942, she wonders what she will do with her life, and decides that she should become a photographer because it is what she loves to do. She is the daughter of a mother who showed her art galleries and Roman churches at a very young age, and of a researcher chemist father who loved to see her print her little photos with the resources available at the time. From 1942 until 1945 she was an apprentice at Boissonnas in Geneva, house of a dynasty of photographers that celebrated its 80th birthday. In 1945 Sabine Weiss moved to a studio in Geneva, but in 1946 she decided to leave the city of her childhood to live in Paris. She knew there was no turning back. She asked Willy Maywald to become her assistant. In 1949, she met the painter Hugh Weiss and realized right away that she would spend her life with him. Sabine Weiss left Maywald, where she mastered her craft and started a long career, experimenting fashion, photojournalism, advertising and everything else she was asked to do. During her free time, she liked to immortalize the depths of man in all simplicity. Her photographs moved Edward Steichen when preparing his major exhibition "The Family of Man" therefore he decided to present three of her images. In recent years, Sabine Weiss has dedicated her time to exhibitions that showcase the humanist side of her work because it meant a lot to her. Key dates 1924 July 23rd Birth at Gingolph in Switzerland, Naturalized French in 1995. 1942-45 Apprentice at Boissonas in Geneva 1945 Swiss diploma of photography 1946 Settles permanently in Paris 1946-50 Assistant of Willy Maywald 1950 Weds the American artist Hugh Weiss 1951 Works for several advertising agencies 1952-61 Contract with Vogue Magazine (Fashion and Assignments) 1952 Enters the Agency Rapho 1952 Free-lance for major magazines in the USA and in Europe like Paris Match, Life, Time, Newsweek, Town And Country, Fortune, Holiday, European Travel And Life, Esquire... covering countries in Europe, Africa, North America and Asia. Most recent exhibitions: 2014 Vannes, Festival de la Photo de Mer "Portugal, 1954" 2014 Zürich, Photobastei, Rétrospective 2014 Genève, Galerie Patrick Cramer, Portraits d’artistes (Giacometti et Miro) 2014 Salon de la Photo, Paris, Porte de Versailles, rétrospective « Chère Sabine » (Tribute to the photographer's 90th birthday) Decorations 1987 Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres (Knight of Arts and Letters) 1999 Officier des Arts et des Lettres (Officer of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres) 2010 Ordre national du Mérite (French National Order of Merit) Discover Sabine Weiss' Interview
Joel Meyerowitz
United States
1938
Joel Meyerowitz is an award-winning photographer whose work has appeared in over 350 exhibitions in museums and galleries around the world. He was born in New York in 1938. He began photographing in 1962. He is a “street photographer” in the tradition of Henri Cartier-Bresson and Robert Frank, although he works exclusively in color. As an early advocate of color photography (mid-60s), Meyerowitz was instrumental in changing the attitude toward the use of color photography from one of resistance to nearly universal acceptance. His first book, Cape Light, is considered a classic work of color photography and has sold more than 100,000 copies during its 30-year life. He is the author of 17 other books, including the newly released book by Aperture, Legacy: The Preservation of Wilderness in New York City Parks. In 1998 he produced and directed his first film, POP, an intimate diary of a three-week road trip he made with his son, Sasha, and his father, Hy. This odyssey has as its central character an unpredictable, street-wise and witty 87-year-old with a failing memory. It is both an open-eyed look at aging and a meditation on the significance of memory. Within a few days of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York, Meyerowitz began to create an archive of the destruction and recovery at Ground Zero and the immediate neighborhood. The World Trade Center Archive consists of over 8,000 images, and was created with the sponsorship of the Museum of the City of New York, to whom a set of digital files was donated for their archives and for exhibition. The Archive is an historic, photographic record of the immediate aftermath of the tragedy and the neighborhood as it evolved. The U.S. Department of State mounted 35 exhibitions of this work and they were shown around the globe from their inauguration by Colin Powell in Spring 2002 until 2005. Over 4 million people have seen these shows from Jerusalem to Islamabad, Rome, Paris, London, Kuwait, Moscow, Istanbul, and 200 other cities. Meyerowitz’s photographs from the World Trade Center Archives were also on view when he represented the United States at the 8th Venice Biennale for Architecture in 2002. Meyerowitz created a traveling exhibition of 117 vintage and modern prints entitled Out of the Ordinary 1970-1980, which premiered at the Jeu de paume in Paris, France. It has been exhibited at the Museum der Modern in Salzburg, Austria, and the Nederlands Fotomuseum in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, the Musee de la Photographie in Charleroi, Belgium and the Thessaloniki Museum of Photography in Thessaloniki, Greece Meyerowitz completed the ambitious project of documenting and creating an archive of New York City’s 29,000 acres of parkland. It is the first long-term visual documentation of NYC parks since the 1930’s when they were photographed as part of Franklin Roosevelt’s WPA program. Adrian Benepe, Commissioner of Parks and Recreation, has invited Meyerowitz to produce a comprehensive database for future use by the Parks department and to share these images of the parks with communities in all 5 boroughs. Legacy: The Preservation of Wilderness in New York City Parks was published by Aperture in the fall of 2009, accompanied by a large-scale exhibition of the same name at the Museum of the City of New York. Meyerowitz is a two-time Guggenheim fellow, a recipient of both the NEA and NEH awards, as well as a recipient of the Deutscher Fotobuchpreis. His work is in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts and many others. Source: Wikipedia
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