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Maureen Ruddy Burkhart
Maureen Ruddy Burkhart
Maureen Ruddy Burkhart

Maureen Ruddy Burkhart

Country: United States
Birth: 1954

My creative quest has always been about the 'journey' as opposed to the 'destination'. The first is experiential, alive, organic; that latter seems rushed.

I grew up in places that I now see as exotic, but at the time I just thought it was terribly inconvenient and definitely too far from friends back 'home'.

In 1971, at age 17, I left Iran, after three years, in tears and some relief. I immediately thought 'why didn't I take any pictures there?'. I fell in love with that country and its people, but I would not be going back (at least, not yet!).

Holding onto what memories I had taken with me, I vowed this would not happen again. So I enrolled in the SFAI. Many years have unfolded since then, and I've been a filmmaker (when 'film' was film), a writer/director, an I.Q. tester, stock photographer, and a documentary and fine art photographer.

My most seminal work to date, in terms of how it changed my worldly perceptions, came after spending some three years on and off working for a documentary project in the Kibera slum of Kenya. "Kibera: A Slice of Heaven" earned numerous international awards and press, but my favorite was a local 'Artist of the Year' in Longmont, Colorado. The Firehouse Art Center curator, Jessica Kooiman Parker, called it an 'act of bravery'. Reflecting on that, I realized that bravery is a way to change the world AND the photographer, one heart at a time. The power of photography is truly unlimited.

Amidst a crazy world (and always being on the move), I developed a love of landscape photography. Most people acknowledge that nature can be a place of solace and inspiration. While it is definitely the same for me, I've been creating 'scenes' from nature. I often photograph the same landscape over and over, taking my favorite parts of the series and compositing them into a singular landscape that mimics my relationship to it. It's fantasy, whimsy, and hope. In my darker landscapes, there's a moody melancholia…but I never lose sight of the hope.

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Nick Brandt
United Kingdom
1964
Nick Brandt is an English photographer whose themes always relate to the disappearing natural world, before much of it is destroyed by mankind. From 2001 to 2018, he has photographed in Africa. In his trilogy, On This Earth, A Shadow Falls Across The Ravaged Land (2001-2012), he established a style of portrait photography of animals in the wild similar to that of the photography of humans in studio setting, shot on medium format film, attempting to portray animals as sentient creatures not so different from us. In Inherit the Dust (2016), in a series of panoramas, Brandt recorded the impact of man in places where animals used to roam, but no longer do. In each location, Brandt erected a life-size panel of one of his unreleased animal portrait photographs, placing the displaced animals on sites of explosive urban development, new factories, wastelands and quarries. This Empty World (2019) addresses the escalating destruction of the natural world at the hands of humans, showing a world where, overwhelmed by runaway development, there is no longer space for animals to survive. The people in the photos also often helplessly swept along by the relentless tide of 'progress'. Each image is a combination of two moments in time, captured weeks apart, almost all from the exact same locked-off camera position: A partial set is built and lit. Weeks follow whilst the wild animals in the area become comfortable enough to enter the frame. Once the animals are captured on camera, the full sets are built. A second sequence is then photographed with a cast of people drawn from local communities and beyond. Brandt has had solo gallery and museum shows around the world, including New York, London, Berlin, Stockholm, Paris and Los Angeles. Born and raised in England, he now lives in the southern Californian mountains. He is co-founder of Big Life Foundation, fighting to protect the animals and ecosystem of a large area of Kenya and Tanzania. On this Earth: The first book in the trilogy, On This Earth (Chronicle Books, 2005) constitutes 66 photos taken 2000-2004, with introductions by the conservationist and primatologist Jane Goodall and the author Alice Sebold. The photographs in this book are a unadulterated vision of an African paradise, deliberately contrasting with what is to follow in the subsequent books. Elephant with Exploding Dust, Amboseli 2004, the photo on the book's cover, has since become one of Brandt's best-known images. Critical response to the book, heralded Brandt's photographic achievement. Black and White magazine called his photos "heartbreakingly beautiful". A Shadow Falls: The second book in the trilogy, A Shadow Falls, (Abrams, 2009) features 58 photographs taken 2005-2008. It is generally regarded to be superior to "On This Earth". In additional introductions, philosopher Peter Singer, author of the groundbreaking Animal Liberation, explains why Brandt's photographs speak to an increasing human moral conscience about our treatment of animals. The photography critic Vicki Goldberg places Brandt's work in the history of the medium. As the title of the book implies, this book, although replete with images of ethereal beauty and poetry, is a more melancholic interpretation of the world he photographs. Indeed, critic Vicki Goldberg writes: " A Shadow Falls, taken in its entirely, is a love story without a happily ever after." The photos in the book are deliberately sequenced: the opening images are of an unspoiled lush green world, filled with animals and water ("Wildebeest Arc, Masai Mara 2006" ). As the book progresses, the photos become gradually more stark, until towards the end, the trees are dead, the water gone, the animals are vastly reduced in numbers, until the book closes with the final ambiguous image, of a lone, abandoned ostrich egg on a parched lake bed. "Abandoned Ostrich Egg, Amboseli 2007". In addition the Artist's Edition book, entitled, On this Earth, a Shadow Falls, (Abrams Books/Big Life Editions) was published in 2010, combining the best 90 photos from the first two books, in a larger volume with much superior printing to the first two books. Across The Ravaged Land: The completion of Nick Brandt’s trilogy: “On This Earth, A Shadow Falls, Across The Ravaged Land.” Release date, September 3, 2013 (Abrams Books, 2013), documents the disappearing natural world and animals of East Africa. This is the third and final volume of Nick Brandt's work which reveals the darker side of his vision of East Africa’s animal kingdom and the juxtaposition of mankind. The trilogy marks the last decade of a stunning world of the beauty of East Africa’s Serengeti, Marsai Mara, Amboseli, and ends with a dark and well-known unhappy ending. “Across The Ravaged Land” introduces humans in his photography for the first time exhibiting the cost of poachers, killing for profit. One such example is Ranger with Tusks of Killed Elephant, Amboseli 2011. This photograph features one of the rangers employed by Big Life Foundation, the Foundation that Nick Brandt started in 2010. The ranger holds the tusks of an elephant killed by poachers in the years prior to the Foundation's inception. Brandt captures the trophies in these epic landscapes and the images of perfectly preserved creatures calcified by the salts of the Rift Valley soda lake. In both instances, the creatures appear in an ethereal animated state seemingly posing for their portraits. Big Life Foundation: In September 2010, in urgent response to the escalation of poaching in Africa due to increased demand from the Far East, Nick Brandt founded the non-profit organization called Big Life Foundation, dedicated to the conservation of Africa's wildlife and ecosystems. With one of the most spectacular elephant populations in Africa being rapidly diminished by poachers, the Amboseli ecosystem, which straddles both Kenya and Tanzania, became the Foundation's large-scale pilot project. Headed up in Kenya by renowned conservationist Richard Bonham, multiple fully equipped teams of anti-poaching rangers have been placed in newly built outposts in the critical areas throughout the 2-million-acre (8,100 km2) + area, resulting in a dramatically reduced incidence of killing and poaching of wildlife in the ecosystem. Source: Wikipedia Discover Nick Brandt's Interview about Inherit the Dust
Flor Garduño
Mexico
1957
Flor Garduño was born in Mexico and studied visual arts at the Academy of San Carlos (UNAM), where she focused on the search for the structural aspects of form and space. She became especially interested in the work of Kati Horna, a Hungarian photographer whose communicative dimension of her photographs had a great impact on the development of Garduño's aesthetic. She gave up her studies to work as a darkroom assistant for Manuel Álvarez Bravo, one of Mexico's most prestigious photographers, with whom she strengthened her photographic skills. Since then, Garduño has received numerable prizes, and her work has been exposed and published around the world. Garduño's photos depict the landscapes of Central and South America -- and the people whose ancestors were indigenous to the region. Her photos depict subjects that could have existed in a time long before the present moment, and through photographing them, brings the Indian land of America to the present moment. She addresses time -- past, present, and future -- simultaneously through her photographs. Through her photos we witness the slow procession from life to death, interrupted by comic accidents, childish play, liturgical ceremonies, and erotic repose. Though many themes traverse Garduño's body of work, all ultimately reach the point of incense where, uncertainly, nature, and art blend so that mankind may have a margin of whimsy, freedom, or significance on the face of the gods.Source: Peter Fetterman Gallery Flor Garduño (Born Mexico City, Mexico, 1957) studied at the Escuela Nacional de Artes Plásticas in Mexico City.  In 1979 she became an assistant to Manuel Alvarez Bravo. Between 1981 and 1982 she traveled with a team of photographers organized by Mariana Yampolsky. The team photographed rural villages throughout Mexico for reading primers published by the Secretariat of Education for Indigenous Communities.  This experience as well as her association with Kati Horn influenced Garduño's photographs, which are usually of country locales and towns depicted in strange and mysterious ways typical of Surrealism in Mexican photography.  Garduño had her first one-person exhibition in 1982 at the Galeria Jose Clemente Orozco in Mexico City.  In 1985, a compendium of six years of her work was published entitled "Magia del Juego Eterno" and in 1987 another book entitled "Bestiarium" was published.  In 1986 she participated in the first photographic exhibition of the Salón de la Plástica Mexicana and in the inauguration of the Kahlo-Coronel Gallery in Mexico City. In 1986 and 1988 she was included in several traveling exhibitions "Reserved for Export" and "Realidades Mágicas" that were seen in the United States and Europe.  1996 Image and Memory, Latin american Photography, 1880-1992  Itinerary: El Museo del Barrio, New York.  Art Gallery of the University of Scranton, PA.  Lowe Art Museum, Florida.  Museo de Arte de Ponce, Puerto Rico.  Crocker Art Museum, CA.  Meadows Museum, Tx.  Akron Art Museum, OH. Her one-person shows were in Paris in 1986, the Museum Volkenkunde de Rotterdam in 1989, the Field Museum of Chicago in 1990 and Montreal in 1991.  Since 1989 she has dedicated herself to photographing the images that appear in her one-person exhibition and monograph, "Witnesses of Time".  The exhibition started at the Americas Society in 1993 and will be traveling across the country to the Museum of Photographic Arts in California as well as various other venues.  Her work is in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris; and Centro Cultural de Arte Contemporáneo, Mexico.Source: Throckmorton Fine Art Galleries in the USA:   Peter Fetterman Gallery   Throckmorton Fine Art   Fahey/Klein Gallery   Holden Luntz Gallery   Etherton Gallery   Andrew Smith Gallery
Lucien Clergue
France
1934 | † 2014
Lucien Clergue was born in Arles. From the age of 7, he learned to play the violin. Several years later, his teacher revealed to him that he had nothing more to teach him. From a family of shopkeepers, he could not pursue further studies in a conservatory. In 1949, he learned the rudiments of photography. Four years later, at a corrida in Arles, he showed his photographs to Pablo Picasso who, though subdued, demanded to see others. Within a year and a half, young Clergue worked with the goal of sending photos to Picasso. During this period, he worked on a series of photographs of traveling entertainers, acrobats and harlequins, the 'Saltimbanques'. He also worked on a series whose subject was carrion. On 4 November 1955, Lucien Clergue visited Picasso in Cannes. Their friendship lasted near 30 years until the death of the Master. The book, Picasso my friend retraces the important moments of their relation. Clergue has taken many photographs of the gypsies of southern France, and he was instrumental in propelling the guitarist Manitas de Plata to fame. In 1968 he founded, along with his friend Michel Tournier the Rencontres d’Arles photography festival which is held in Arles in July. His works was presented during the festival from 1971–1973, 1975, 1979, 1982–1986, 1989, 1991, 1993, 1994, 2000, 2003, 2007. Clergue has illustrated books, among these a book by writer Yves Navarre. Clergue’s photographs are in the collections of numerous well-known museums and private collectors. His photographs have been exhibited in over 100 solo exhibitions worldwide, with noted exhibitions such as 1961, Museum of Modern Art New York, the last exhibition organized by Edward Steichen with Lucien Clergue, Bill Brandt and Yasuhiro Ishimoto. Museums with extensive inventory of photographs by Lucien Clergue include The Fogg Museum at Harvard University and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. His photographs of Jean Cocteau are on permanent display at the Jean Cocteau Museum in Menton, France. In the US, the exhibition of photographs of Jean Cocteau was premiered by Westwood Gallery, New York City. In 2007, the city of Arles honored Lucien Clergue and dedicated a retrospective collection of 360 his photographs dating from 1953 to 2007. He also received the 2007 Lucie Award. He is named knight of the Légion d'honneur in 2003 and elected member of the Academy of Fine Arts of the Institute of France on 31 May 2006, on the creation of a new section dedicated to photography. Clergue is the first photographer to enter the Academy to a seat devoted to photography.Source: Wikipedia Lucien Clergue was a pioneering French photographer who devoted his career to elevating photography to a high art, on par with the leading artistic medium of his day, painting. He is best known for his black-and-white portraits of Pablo Picasso, immortalized in his photobook Picasso My Friend (1993). The Spanish painter was an early advocate of Clergue’s artistic practice, and they would maintain a lifelong friendship and collaboration. Clergue’s work encompassed landscapes, portraits, and still lifes, with his studies of the female nude generating particular acclaim. He was born on August 14, 1934 in Arles, France, where he founded Les Recontres de la Photographie d’Arles, an international festival of photography, in 1969. Clergue achieved widespread critical recognition for his work after it was exhibited in 1961 at The Museum of Modern Art in New York, where Edward Steichen gave the artist his first solo show at the museum. In 2006, he was the first photographer to be elected to the Académie des Beaux-Arts, where he served as president during 2013. Clergue died on November 15, 2014 in Nîmes, France at the age of 80.Source: Artnet
Cindy Sherman
United States
1954
Cindy Sherman was born in 1954 in Glen Ridge, New Jersey. Sherman earned a BA from Buffalo State College, State University of New York (1976). In self-reflexive photographs and films, Cindy Sherman invents myriad guises, metamorphosing from Hollywood starlet to clown to society matron. Often with the simplest of means—a camera, a wig, makeup, an outfit—Sherman fashions ambiguous but memorable characters that suggest complex lives that exist outside of the frame. Leaving her works untitled, Sherman refuses to impose descriptive language on her images—relying instead on the viewer’s ability to develop narratives, as an essential component of appreciating the work. While rarely revealing her private intentions, Sherman’s investigations have a compelling relationship to public images, from kitsch (film stills and centerfolds) to art history (Old Masters and Surrealism) to green-screen technology and the latest advances in digital photography. Sherman’s exhaustive study of portraiture and self-portraiture—often a playful mixture of camp and horror, heightened by gritty realism—provides a new lens through which to examine societal assumptions surrounding gender and the valuation of concept over style. Among her awards are the Guild Hall Academy of the Arts Lifetime Achievement Award for Visual Arts (2005); American Academy of Arts and Sciences Award (2003); National Arts Award (2001); a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Award (1995); and others. Her work has appeared in major exhibitions at Sprüth Magers, Berlin (2009); Jeu de Paume, Paris (2006); the Museum of Modern Art, New York (1997); and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (1997); among others. Sherman has participated in many international events, including SITE Santa Fe (2004); the Venice Biennale (1982, 1995); and five Whitney Biennial exhibitions. Cindy Sherman lives and works in New York.
Herman Leonard
United States
1923 | † 2010
Herman Leonard was born in 1923 in Allentown, Pennsylvania to Romanian immigrants. At the young age of 9, he first witnessed an image being developed in his brother's darkroom and became enthralled with the magic of photography. As the official photographer for his high school, Herman quickly learned that with a camera in hand, he had an "open sesame" to people and events, that his shyness might have prevented him from experiencing. When it came time for college, Herman chose Ohio University, "The only university at the time that could offer me a degree in Photography". His college studies were interrupted from 1943-1945, as Herman joined the United States Army and was sent to Burma with the 13th Mountain Medical Battalion. He had hoped to be a field photographer, but was ironically assigned as a combat anesthetist when he failed a test, which required him to identify the chemical ingredients of film developer. After the war, Herman returned to college and graduated in 1947 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree. Upon graduation from Ohio University, he took a chance and drove to Ottawa, Canada in hopes of working with famed portraiture photographer, Yousuf Karsh. Karsh was impressed with his determination and took him on as an apprentice. Herman assisted Karsh in the darkroom and with photographic sittings including, Martha Graham, Harry Truman, and Albert Einstein. Karsh's photographic advice to Leonard, "Tell the truth, but in terms to beauty." During a portrait session with Albert Einstein, Leonard questioned the professor about the connection between a musician and a mathematician. Einstein's response, "Improvisation." Leonard was inspired by these two influential men and applied their credos to his work. In 1948, Herman's passion for jazz brought him to New York City's Greenwich Village, where he set up a small studio at 220 Sullivan Street. He made his way into the swinging clubs of Broadway, 52nd Street and Harlem. With his camera as his free ticket, he offered to shoot publicity stills at the jazz clubs for admission. While shooting at The Royal Roost and Birdland, he quickly developed friendships with the some of the greats of jazz royalty, including Duke Ellington, Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Lena Horne, Billie Holiday, Louis Armstrong, Quincy Jones and many more. His stunning photographs began appearing in Downbeat and Metronome magazines, and on the covers of albums while working for jazz producer Norman Granz. In 1956, he was hired by Marlon Brando as his personal photographer, and traveled with him on an extensive research trip throughout the Far East. Upon his return to NYC, he was offered a position at Barclay Records in Paris, France. He continued to photograph the prolific jazz scene, with many of the American jazz artists now living there, he also photographed many French recording artists such as Charles Aznavour, Jacques Brel, Eddy Mitchell and Johnny Hallyday. Paris would be his home for the next 25 years, working from his studio in Paris's Neuilly-sur-Seine neighborhood. He also had a successful career working in advertising, for fashion houses Yves St. Laurent and Dior, as well as many international magazines including Life, Time and early Playboy. In 1980, he left France for a more tranquil life, and moved his family to the Spanish island of Ibiza. During that time he rediscovered his jazz negatives that had been stored in a box under his bed, and in 1985 released his first book, The Eye of Jazz, published by Hachette/Filipachi Publications. In 1988 he moved to London where he had the first exhibition of his jazz photographs at the Special Photographers Company. After rave reviews by the London Times and the BBC, he became an overnight sensation, with 10,000 people coming to the small Notting Hill gallery to view his unseen images. The following year he premiered his first US show, which toured nationally. After living in Europe for over thirty years, he returned to the U.S. In 1992, an exhibit in New Orleans would change his life. He fell in love with the city and moved there to immerse himself in its vibrant and lively jazz scene. He continued to exhibit his work around the world in numerous solo shows. In 1995, Leonard released his second book, Jazz Memories, published by Editions Filipacchi, and in that same year was awarded an "Honorary Masters of Science in Photography" from The Brooks Institute of Photography. Other awards received at this time included the "Milt Hinton Award for Excellence in Jazz Photography," from Jazz Photographer's Association, the "Excellence in Photography Award" from the Jazz Journalists Association, and a "Lifetime Achievement Award" from Downbeat Magazine in 2004. In August 2005, Hurricane Katrina destroyed his home and studio when it was flooded with over 8 feet of water. The storm claimed his life's work, some 8,000 silver gelatin photographs that had been hand printed by him, a master printer in his own right. As the storm blew in, Leonard's crew had gathered the negatives and securely placed them in the care of the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, where they were stored in an upper level vault. At the age of 82, and with his city in ruins, he decided to move with his family to Los Angeles to reestablish his life and business. In 2006, he released his third book, "Jazz, Giants, And Journeys: The Photography of Herman Leonard", published by Scala Publishers, Ltd. In the forward to the book, Quincy Jones wrote, "When people think of jazz, their mental picture is likely one of Herman's." Herman Leonard's photographs, now considered fine art collector's items, are a unique record of the jazz scene in the 1940's, 50's and 60's. Throughout his long life, he traveled and lived around the world, capturing images with his distinctive style. Whether he was photographing Miles Davis, Frank Sinatra, Louis Armstrong or a street musician in his home in New Orleans, Herman's smile, warmth and engaging personality continued to open doors for him and his camera; to reveal a world we might have missed. Certainly Herman Leonard's iconic photographs will long be remembered not only for their enduring historic significance, but also for their breathtaking artistic beauty. They are part of the permanent archives of the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, D.C., where they are considered as essential to American music history as Benny Goodman's clarinet or Louis Armstrong's trumpet. His legacy has continued to be honored with major touring exhibitions of his work including the GRAMMY Museum in Los Angeles, Jazz at Lincoln Center in NYC, the San Francisco Jazz Center (SFJAZZ), The National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC, and The Clinton Presidential Center. President Bill Clinton has called Herman Leonard, "The greatest jazz photographer in the history of the genre." In the last years of his life, Herman Leonard's goal was to bring his entire jazz collection, comprising a visual documentation of America's original art form, back to life and preserve it for future generations. Source: hermanleonard.com
David Vasilev
David Vasilev was born in Stara Zagora, Bulgaria in 1981, where he spent his early years. Ever since he was a little kid, he was always surrounded by photojournalists, his dad being one of them. This had a great impact on his perception of the world, thus photography become a necessary tool for self-expression. After he moved to the United States he begun his extensive journey to find inspiration in the cultural contrasts of North America. To observe is to spend more time looking through the lens than photographing. That is how I catch elusive moments of reality in a single frame. Growing up in a culturally mixed neighborhood in Stara Zagora, Bulgaria, defined me as a person and as a photographer. I’ve captured the raw human spirit in people distanced from society—the joy and sadness they feel just by surviving, alongside the simplicity we lack. I follow my instincts without looking back, which has led me to fascinating places. I’ve visited forgotten parts of the United States, time capsules filled with pure instinct and the most archaic traces of human nature still intact. In one excursion I visited the Hutterites—a German-speaking colony located in the prairies of the Dakotas. I felt their sincere hospitality instantly, even when they couldn't understand why I was there to begin with or what photography even was. They maintained a humble existence that I wanted to preserve on film. With time, they got used to me being there, and my presence was gradually ignored. Only then did I witness and photograph their essence: the realness of their daily lives, creating a visual memory of this time and place. I will never forget the children. One day a girl with curious eyes approached me quietly and asked, "Have you seen the ocean?" David Vasilev
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