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Valerie Laney
Valerie Laney
Valerie Laney

Valerie Laney

Country: United States
Birth: 1964

Valerie Elizabeth Laney was born in sunny San Diego, California, and was raised in rural North Carolina, where she spent endless summers catching tadpoles and chasing fireflies and exploring the surrounding woods, creeks and tobacco fields. Growing up in and around nature inspired her to spread her wings, and she has spent years exploring and photographing our wondrous planet. Valerie holds a degree in Visual Design from North Carolina State University, College of Design which, when combined with a career as a Graphic Designer, enhances her skill in composition as well as visual story telling. Photography was a natural outcome of her love of nature and her skill as an artist; and it has become her passion to capture images of unique places, diverse landscapes and fascinating cultures.

A love of adventure sends her on photo expeditions to places like Iceland, Madagascar and the steppes of Mongolia, where her photographs capture majestic landscapes, native cultures, wildlife and underwater marine life. Valerie loves sharing her photography and hopes it inspires dreams, travel and memories for her growing audience.

Statement

Photography allows one to capture the world in a way that is unique to the beholder. Photos are visual story telling, but yet, everyone is left to their own interpretation of the story that is being told. So in that way, photography allows both the photographer and the onlooker to take part in the creative process. I compose photos to give a sense of what is happening in the shot: viewers should feel the cold, smell the air, and feel like they can anticipate the moments that followed as if they were present.
 

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More Great Photographers To Discover

Emma Powell
United States
Emma Powell is an artist in residence and lecturer in photography at Iowa State University. Powell graduated from the College of Wooster in Ohio and received her MFA from Rochester Institute of Technology. Her work often examines photography's history while incorporating historic processes and or devices within the imagery. In her series In Search of Sleep, Powell uses the cyanotype process to create a visual lullaby in wish she explores personal narratives and metaphors.In Search of SleepFrom my earliest days I have had a difficult relationship with sleep. As a child I avoided it at all costs, especially at night. To get me back to bed, my father used to tell me stories. They were not traditional children’s bedtime stories, but invented tales that began on our quiet street and journeyed down open drains to a dream-world of caverns, forests, and oceans full of unexpected animals and dangers. The story would always find its way back to the real world and end where it had begun, hopefully but doubtfully with me that much closer to sleep.In Search of Sleep recreates this shadowy realm and allows me to explore my real-life questions, from personal dramas to romantic doubts. The cyanotype process, with its distinctive blue tones, visually traverses the distance between waking and sleeping. These images are also toned with tea and wine to both dull the blues and add warmth. Tea, wine, cyanide – all three of these substances relate to different levels of consciousness that often mirror the mental states evoked by my photographs. In Search of Sleep creates a visual lullaby that allows me to safely explore what I love, what I fear, what I remember, and what I imagine.
Noell Oszvald
Hungary
1990
Noell Oszvald was born in Hungary in 1990. While preferring to be labeled as a visual artist, Noell Oszvald uses the photographic medium as the raw material through which she channels her emotions. Favoring black and white in order to avoid any distraction that may be created by colors, she strips her images to their bare essence. Her compositions rely on pure straight lines into which the subject fuses, hence rubbing off all hierarchy within the components. The resulting sobriety, reinforced by the choice of a square format, acts as a breeding ground to a complex melange of subtle feelings derived from her melancholy and loneliness. Indeed, while all facial features are deliberately kept hidden, Oszvald’s work could easily fall within the self-portrait category; “they’re reflections of who I am,” says the artist about her images. However, the spectral presence of the character merging with its surroundings, the full-fledged role played by the environment and the powerful sensitivity that exudes through, are closer to the conceptual photography of the similarly precocious Francesca Woodman. Yet, more than her self, Oszvald conveys an apparent yet suspicious sense of calmness, well guarded by a perfectly controlled composition. In addition to the lines dividing space, the impeccable geometric interactions and the sharp contrast between the various shades of black are brought into opposition with the muffled silence of her quiescent emotions. It triggers a delicate duality, which underlies a rich and complex inner world. The reassuring perfection of these images acts like a robust armor to the highly sensitive Oszvald, who despite her young age, proves herself to be an accomplished artist. “My aim is to set up concepts using the human body as a base, while not making it the main focus of the picture. The result is a still image that is built around a person, but all parts of the whole are of equal importance. I reduce my pictures to content, composition, and form because this minimalist approach allows me to put equal emphasis on the idea behind the artwork and the entirety of the image. Portraying a sense of calmness with images that are built up based on geometric shapes is a recurring theme of my work.”Source: Artpil Noell Oszvald only shoots in black and white because she finds colors to be distracting. “I feel the same way about clothes and other matters of appearance, which why I like to reduce my images to forms, composition and content.” When asked what the story is behind one of her photo, Prejudice, Noell Oszald shared this, “I had the idea of Prejudice in my mind for a long time before I finally made it. I was very unsure about it, because I wanted the picture to look absolutely the way it does now, but to achieve this composition I had to paint the bird in, in not exactly the right position. I feared people would pick on me and call me ignorant, because the image is not precise. I was afraid of being judged while working on a picture about prejudice. How ironic.” As you look through Oszvald's beautiful and sometimes haunting images, you can't help but feel a mix of emotions. They all fall in the conceptual photography field, meaning, they illustrate an idea but one that Oszald believes should be personal to the viewer. “I don't want to tell people what to see in my images,” explains Oszland, “this is the reason why I never really write any descriptions other than titles. It shows what I wish to express but everyone is free to figure out what the picture says to them. It's very interesting to read so many different thoughts about the same piece of work.”Source: My Modern Met
Liu Zheng
China
1969
Liu Zheng was born in 1969 in the Hebei Province, China. His signature graytone photographs have for years starkly framed, in political and provocative situations, his human subjects. When he works in colour, the tones are awash in sepia or a doctored saturation that comments on the nostalgic nature of his topics – his Peking Opera series in particular reflects this. Liu's background is not rooted in arts . After majoring in optical engineering at the Beijing Institute of Technology, he joined a local paper as a photojournalist, where he covered the coal mining industry. This laid the foundation for his interest in the lives of the countrymen that toil endlessly; one of his first series as an artistic practitioner explored the lives of ethnic minorities and our perception of them. He continues to eke out of the histories and stories of his subjects and topics in photography, and has published several volumes of his series. Liu Zheng's work has been exhibited in solo shows including Dream Shock, Three Shadows Photography Art Center, Beijing, China (2013); Dream Shock, Zen Foto Gallery, Tokyo, Japan (2009); Liu Zheng: The Chinese, Williams College Museum of Art, Williamstown, MA (2008); Liu Zheng: Survians, SOHO New Town, Beijing, China (2005); Liu Zheng: The Chinese, Yossi Milo Gallery, New York, NY (2005); Liu Zheng, Recontres Internationles de la Photographie, Arles, France (2003); The Chinese, Central Academy of Fine Arts Museum, Beijing, China (2001); and Three Realms and The Chinese, Taipei Photo Gallery, Taipei, Taiwan (1998). His works have also featured in group shows including the Minsheng Art Museum in Shanghai, China; Smart Museum of Art in Chicago, IL; J.Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, LA; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA; Mori Art Museum, Tokyo, Japan; Asia Society and Museum, New York, NY; the Victoria & Albert Museum, London, England; and Chambers Fine Art, Beijing, China. He has also participated in the 50th Biennale di Venezia in Venice, Italy and the ICP Triennale, New York. His work is in the collections of the Guy and Miriam Ullens Foundation, Geneva, Switzerland; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY; Uli Sigg Collection, Mauensee, Switzerland; and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA. He currently lives and works in Beijing, China.
Annick Donkers
Annick Donkers is a documentary photographer from Antwerp, Belgium. After obtaining a Master’s degree in Psychology, she decided to specialize in photography. She has received a grant from the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs and was selected to participate in the Seminar on Contemporary Photography at the Centro de la Imagen in Mexico City (2008). Her work has been exhibited and published internationally. She was one of the winners at the Survival International Competition (2015), won an award at the San José Photo Festival in Uruguay (2016), the Sony Awards in UK (2016), the MIFA awards in Russia (2016), the IPA awards in USA (2016), the TIFA awards in Tokyo (2016), received an honorable mention at the Px3 Prix de la Photo in Paris(2016), was selected at Latin American Photography vol.5 (2016), on the cover of Dodho magazine (2016), shortlisted for the Kolga Tbilisi Awards and Athens Photo Festival (2017). She currently lives and works as a freelance photographer in Mexico City.About Lucha Libre Extrema The Lucha Libre Extrema series emerged from a growing interest I had in Mexican professional wrestling. I was soon drawn towards sub-genres of the sport such as Lucha Libre Exótica and Lucha Extrema. This semi-clandestine hardcore genre is currently prohibited in Mexico City because of how dangerous it is, but events still take place outside the capital, notably at a car wash-turned-arena in Tulancingo, the village where El Santo, Mexico’s most famous pro wrestler, was born. The participants receive professional training and are paid a little bit more because of the risks they take. They perform with a variety of weapons: chairs, thumbtacks, wire, and fluorescent lights, turning the ring into a war zone. Yet the community of luchadores “extremos” is closely knit and few outsiders have gained access. Mexico has been a very violent place in recent years. As such, I found it fascinating that people were drawn to the dangerous world of Lucha Libre Extrema and turned my camera to the audience in an attempt to understand their reasons. About Afromexican HealersAt the end of last year my attention was drawn to the coastal region of Guerrero known as Costa Chica, located to the south of Acapulco. This region is home to Mexicans descended from African slaves that identify themselves as being “black”. But outside this region they are little-known and they are currently fighting to be officially recognized by the Mexican State. The Costa Chica is also a place rooted in traditional beliefs that include appearances of trolls, the devil and spirit animals. The legend tells that when a baby is born, a member of the family brings the child to a crossroads up in the mountains where lots of wild animals pass by. The first creature to approach the child will be the child's spirit animal, or tono in Spanish, since there is now a dependency created between child and animal. This means that when the animal is hurt, wounded or dies, the person is too. In the Afromexican communities there are healers that will cure these "animal"-related illnesses, since conventional medicine will not work in these cases. The person is cured with herbs selected by the healers and also according to the needs of the animal. They call these healers curanderos del tono and there are only a small number of them left. I went to the Costa Chica region in an attempt to capture what remains of this Afromexican tradition.
Robert and Shana ParkeHarrison
Robert ParkeHarrison (born 1968) is a photographer, best known for his work (with wife Shana ParkeHarrison) in the area of fine art photography. The photographs of Robert and Shana ParkeHarrison have been displayed in 18 solo exhibitions and over 30 group shows worldwide. Their work can also be found in over 20 collections, including the National Museum of American Art at the Smithsonian Institution and the George Eastman House. Their book, The Architect’s Brother was named as one of 'the Ten Best Photography Books of the Year' of 2000 by the New York Times. "My photographs tell stories of loss, human struggle, and personal exploration within landscapes scarred by technology and over-use…. strive to metaphorically and poetically link laborious actions, idiosyncratic rituals and strangely crude machines into tales about our modern experience." -- Robert ParkeHarrison Source: Wikipedia Artist Statement: We create works in response to the ever-bleakening relationship linking humans, technology, and nature. These works feature an ambiguous narrative that offers insight into the dilemma posed by science and technology's failed promise to fix our problems, provide explanations, and furnish certainty pertaining to the human condition. Strange scenes of hybridizing forces, swarming elements, and bleeding overabundance portray Nature unleashed by technology and the human hand. Rich colors and surrealistic imagery merge to reveal the poetic roots of the works on display. The use of color is intentional but abstract; proportion and space are compositional rather than natural; movement is blurred; objects and people juxtaposed as if by chance in a visual improvisation that unfolds choreographically. At once formally arresting and immeasurably loaded with sensations—this work attempts to provide powerful impact both visually and viscerally. Source: parkeharrison.com
Justyna Neryng
Poland
1981
Born in Poland in 1981, Justyna Neryng spent much of her childhood playing with her father’s cameras and dark room while roaming the forests of Chelmsko on the Czech boarder. As an adult, a mother and an immigrant to Britain, her photography has flourished into a substantial body of portraiture. Perhaps the most evocative of her works are her exquisitely emotive self-portraits that seem to carry the dark spirit of the forest from her childhood as well as potently baring the scares of modern womanhood. They show vulnerability and intimate eroticism as well as a deep sense of isolation and alienation. It is these portraits that have been most published and exhibited in both in her polish homeland and in the UK. More recently Justyna has begun to collaborate with her daughter Nell, on a project called Childhood Lost. Justyna currently produces her works in her adopted home town of Brighton and Hove, where she lives with her daughter. Artist Statement: Childhood Lost is an autobiographical ,self portrait in a different body, ongoing project exploring the nature of portraiture and memory. As a single mother I have found myself exploring notions and representations of childhood. I see my daughter’s experiences of growing up in urban England conflicting with my own experiences of growing up in rural Poland.I must confess that my own childhood is not a source of many happy memories, perhaps the most resonant of which are the times I escaped to a world of fantasy played out in the forests surrounding my home village of Chelmsko. Watching my daughter grow up has in a sense held a mirror to my own memories of the past while experiencing her childhood dreams enacted through play, and story telling. I find myself in a strange place where I can experience my own memories as well as see my daughter’s childhood through my adult eyes. It is these notions I am seeking to explore with the Childhood Lost project. Interweaving childhood nostalgia with the stories and myths of my Polish childhood and those that I share with my essentially British daughter. The project is using these ideas to produce a series of portraits that evoke characters that populate this world we know as childhood. A court of characters from myth and dreams. The images are aesthetically inspired by portraiture from the Golden Age of Dutch painting. By drawing on paintings as inspiration I am hoping to give a timeless feel to the final images. Also key to the project is also the painstaking styling and prop building, which I am using to evoke these different persona played out by my daughter. I want to develop the series in to a substantial set of portraits of my daughter playing the characters of childhood, as well as producing more elaborate set pieces embracing a theatricality that would take the project to the next level. Subject to funding it would also be a dream of mine to be able to revisit the forests of my own childhood and produce work there. Justyna Neryng is a multi-award winning self-taught photographer born in Poland and now living and working in the United Kingdom. She spent much of her childhood playing with her father’s cameras and dark room while roaming the forests of her hometown. She specialises in portraits and nudes, her photography has flourished into a substantial body of portraiture. She is mainly known for her enchanting theatrical portraits of her daughter, a gallery of triumphal characters, captured on a neutral and undefined background, with their fantastic ‘uniforms’ and imperious look . These images are aesthetically inspired by portraiture from the Golden Age of Dutch painting. And her exquisitely emotive self-portraits that seem to carry the dark spirit of the forest from her childhood as well as potently baring the scars of modern womanhood. They show vulnerability and intimate eroticism as well as deep sense of isolation and alienation.Source: justynaneryng.com
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
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