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Annette LeMay Burke
Annette LeMay Burke
Annette LeMay Burke

Annette LeMay Burke

Country: United States
Birth: 1964

Annette LeMay Burke (b. 1964) is a photographic artist and Northern California native who lives in the heart of Silicon Valley. Numerous family road trips throughout California and the West honed her eye for observing the landscape. By eight years old, she had her own Instamatic camera and graduated to a Minolta X-700 as a teen. While earning a BA in Earth Science from the University of California at Berkeley, she took her first darkroom class. After a career in high-tech, and studying design, Annette has now merged her interests. Her artistic practice focuses on how we interact with the natural world and the landscapes constructed by the artifacts of technology.

Annette's first book, Fauxliage (Daylight Books, Spring 2021), documents the proliferation of disguised cell phone towers in the American West and how new technologies are modifying our landscapes with idiosyncratic results. Her work has been exhibited at institutions such as Center for Photographic Arts, Colorado Photographic Arts Center, Griffin Museum of Photography, Texas Photographic Society, The Center for Fine Art Photography, and Photographic Center Northwest. In 2017, she was a finalist for Photolucida's Critical Mass.


Fauxliage - Disguised Cell Phone Towers of the American West
Fauxliage documents the proliferation of disguised cell phone towers in the American West. For me, the fake foliage of the trees draws more attention than camouflage. The often-farcical tower disguises belie the equipment's covert ability to collect all the phone calls and digital information passing through them, to be bought and sold by advertisers and stored by the NSA.

From the very start, cell towers were considered eyesores. Plastic leaves were attached in an attempt to hide the visual pollution. Over time, the disguises have evolved from primitive palms and evergreens into more elaborate costumes. The towers now masquerade as flagpoles, crosses, water towers, and cacti. Over time, as our demand for five bars of connectivity has increased, the charade has remained.

I was initially drawn to the towers' whimsical appearances. The more I photographed, the more disconcerted I felt that technology was clandestinely modifying our environment. I explore how this manufactured nature is imposing a contrived aesthetic in our neighborhoods. My photographs expose the towers' idiosyncratic disguises, highlight the variety of forms, and show how ubiquitous they are in our daily lives. Their appearance is now an inescapable part of the iconic western road trip and the eight states I visited for this project.

As the fifth generation (5G) of cellular technology continues to roll out, the cell tower terrain will be changing. 5G utilizes smaller equipment that is easier to hide - think fat streetlight poles. Perhaps elaborately disguised 'fauxliage' towers will begin disappearing and be considered an anachronism of the early 21st century. The decorated towers could join drive-up photo kiosks, phone booths, news stands, and drive-in movie theaters as architectural relics of the past.

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Willy Ronis
France
1910 | † 2009
Willy Ronis was a French photographer, the best-known of whose work shows life in post-war Paris and Provence. Ronis was born in Paris; his father was a Jewish refugee from Odessa, and his mother was a refugee from Lithuania, both escaped from the pogroms. His father opened a photography studio in Montmartre, and his mother gave piano lessons. The boy's early interest was music and he hoped to become a composer. Returning from compulsory military service in 1932, his violin studies were put on hold because his father's cancer required Ronis to take over the family portrait business; Ronis' passion for music has been observed in his photographs. His father died in 1936, whereupon the business collapsed and Ronis went freelance, his first photographs being published in Regards. In 1937 he met David Szymin and Robert Capa, and did his first work for Plaisir de France; in 193839 he reported on a strike at Citron and traveled in the Balkans. With Cartier-Bresson, Ronis belonged to Association des crivains et Artistes Rvolutionnaires, and remained a man of the left. The work of photographers, Alfred Stieglitz and Ansel Adams inspired Ronis to begin exploring photography. After his father's death, in 1936, Ronis closed the studio and joined the photo agency Rapho, with Brassa, Robert Doisneau and Ergy Landau. Ronis became the first French photographer to work for Life. In 1953, Edward Steichen included Ronis, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Doisneau, Izis, and Brassa in an exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art titled Five French Photographers. In 1955, Ronis was included in the Family of Man exhibition. The Venice Biennale awarded him its Gold Medal in 1957. Ronis began teaching in the 1950s, and taught at the School of Fine Arts in Avignon, Aix-en-Provence and Saint Charles, Marseilles. In 1979 he was awarded the Grand Prix des Arts et Lettres for Photography by the Minister for Culture. Ronis won the Prix Nadar in 1981 for his photobook, Sur le fil du hasard. (Source: en.wikipedia.org)
Max Yavno
United States
1911 | † 1985
Max Yavno (19111985) was a photographer who specialized in street scenes, especially in Los Angeles and San Francisco, California. The son of Russian immigrants, Yavno was born in New York on April 26, 1911. He had one sister. He was married at age 19 and divorced three years later. He died in April 1985 of complications resulting from a fall in a shower. Yavno worked as a Wall Street messenger while attending City College of New York at night. He attended the graduate school of political economics at Columbia University and worked in the Stock Exchange before becoming a social worker in 1935. He did photography for the Works Progress Administration from 1936 to 1942. He was president of the Photo League in 1938 and 1939. Yavno was in the U.S. Air Force from 1942 to 1945, after which he moved to San Francisco and began specializing in urban-landscape photography. History professor Constance B. Schulz said of him: For financial reasons he worked as a commercial advertising photographer for the next twenty years (195475), creating finely crafted still lifes that appeared in Vogue and Harper's Bazaar. He returned to artistic landscape photography in the 1970s, when his introspective approach found a more appreciative audience. Funding from the National Endowment for the Arts enabled him to travel to Egypt and Israel in 1979. He also captured a pre-Dodgers Chavez Ravine, a giant plaster leg on top of a building in in West Los Angeles and a "nostalgic" shot of a cable car being turned around at Powell and Market streets in San Francisco. His noted photograph of a crowd watching "sun-worshipping body builders at Muscle Beach in Venice" sold at auction in 1984 for almost $4,000. He said he had spent three Sundays at the beach before the subjects "stopped flexing for his camera and resumed posing for each other." His obituary in the Los Angeles Times said that: Melrose Avenue photo gallery owner G. Ray Hawkins, who represented Yavno and exhibited his works, called him a "social documentarian" and noted that he had "a very special ability for combining composition and content while capturing his social vignettes." Photographer Edward Steichen selected twenty of Yavno's prints for the permanent collection at New York's Museum of Modern Art in 1950, and the next year Yavno won a Guggenheim fellowship. Source Wikipedia
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United Kingdom
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United Kingdom
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George Rodger was a British photojournalist noted for his work in Africa and for taking the first photographs of the death camps at Bergen-Belsen at the end of the Second World War. Born in Hale, Cheshire, of Scottish descent, Rodger went to school at St.Bees School in Cumberland then joined the British Merchant Navy and sailed around the world. While sailing, Rodger wrote accounts of his travels and taught himself photography to illustrate his travelogues. However, he was unable to get his travel writing published; after a short spell in America, where he failed to find work during the Depression, he returned to Britain in 1936. In London he was fortunate to find work as a photographer for the BBC's The Listener magazine, which was followed in 1938 by a brief stint working for the Black Star Agency. With the outbreak of the Second World War, Rodger had a strong urge to chronicle the war. His photographs of the Blitz gained him a job as a war correspondent for Life magazine. He covered the war in West Africa extensively and towards the end of the war followed the allied liberation of France, Belgium and Holland. He also covered the retreat of the British forces in Burma and was probably the only British war reporter/photographer to be allowed to drive along and write a story on the Burma Road by travelling on it into China, with special permission from the Chinese commanding generals. Most notably, Rodger was the first photographer to enter the concentration camp at Bergen-Belsen in 1945. His photographs of the few survivors and piles of corpses were published in Life and Time magazines and were highly influential in showing the reality of the death camps. Rodger later recalled how, after spending several hours at the camp, he was appalled to realise that he had spent most of the time looking for graphically pleasing compositions of the piles of bodies lying among the trees and buildings. One of the first photographs taken after liberation of Bergen-Belsen in 1945. This traumatic experience lead Rodger to conclude that he could not work as a war correspondent again. Leaving Life, he travelled throughout Africa and the Middle East, continuing to document these area's wildlife and people. In 1947, Rodger became a founder member of Magnum Photos and over the next thirty years worked as a freelance photographer, taking on many expeditions and assignments to photograph the people, landscape and nature of Africa. Much of Rodger's photojournalism in Africa was published in National Geographic as well as other magazines and newspapers. Source: Wikipedia
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