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Rising Photographers / V

Samantha VanDeman
United States
1982
Samantha was born in Chicago, IL. She received a BFA in Fine Art from Columbia College Chicago and an MFA in Visual Arts from The Art Institute of Boston at Lesley University. During the summer of 2003, Samantha studied drawing at Santa Repararta International School of Art in Florence, Italy. Her work has been published and exhibited in the United States and abroad. Samantha lives and works in Chicago, IL. Born in 1982, Samantha VanDeman grew up in the suburbs of Chicago. She studied fine arts at Columbia College Chicago, receiving a BFA in 2005. During her last year in college, she took a B+W photography class and found her passion. From that point on, she started to actively documenting everything around her. In 2007, she returned to college, this time to earn a MFA in photography from the Art Institute of Boston at Lesley University in 2009. It was during her time at the low residency program at AIB, that she was able to have independent studies with artists such as Anne Wilson, Mayumi Lake, Jeanne Dunning, and Laura Letinsky. Samantha has exhibited her work nationally. Her work has been exhibited at Emory Visual Arts Gallery, Atlanta, GA; Finch and Ada, NY; New Orleans Photo Alliance Gallery, New Orleans, LA; Las Manos Gallery, Chicago, IL; Gallery 263, Cambridge, MA; Midwest center for Photography, Wichita, KS; Gallery 808, Boston, MA; Change Artist Space, San Francisco, CA; Perspective Gallery, Evanston, IL; Barrett Art Center Galleries, Poughkeepsie, NY; Fourth Wall Projects in Boston, MA; The Center for Fine Art Photography in Fort Collins, CO; Newspace Center for Photography in Portland, OR; Black Box Gallery, Portland, OR; Texas Photographic Society, San Antonio, TX ; Wright Museum of Art in Beloit, WI and Review Santa Fe 100. Samantha VanDeman is adjunct faculty at The Art Institute of Illinois in Tinley Park, IL. All about Samantha VanDeman:AAP: When did you realize you wanted to be a photographer?My last year as an undergraduate at Columbia College Chicago, I took a Black and white photography class. It was then I knew I wanted to be a photographer. Up until that point, I wanted to be a painter. AAP: Where did you study photography? I studied photography at The Art Institute of Boston at Lesley University. During my time at The Art Institute of Boston, I had independent studies with Laura Letinsky, Jeanne Dunning, Anne Wilson and Mayumi Lake.AAP:Do you have a mentor?Laura Letinksy has been a friend/mentor since 2008 AAP: How long have you been a photographer?10 yearsAAP: Do you remember your first shot? What was it?My first shot was of rotten fruit.AAP: What or who inspires you?I’m inspired by silence, decay, kindness and long road trips. Artists who inspire me are Jenny Saville, Edward Hopper, Sally Mann and Fiona Apple.AAP: What kind of gear do you use? Camera, lens, digital, film?Canon 5DAAP: Do you spend a lot of time editing your images?I do minimal editing.AAP: Favorite(s) photographer(s)?Sally Mann, Angela Strassheim, Nan Goldin and Corrine DayAAP: What advice would you give a young photographer?Find your own voice and follow your gut. Your best work will come from the projects you are most passionate about.AAP: What mistake should a young photographer avoid?Trying too hard to be different or copying another photographer’s styleAAP: An idea, a sentence, a project you would like to share?I’m currently working on a project called “Died Alone”. This project explores abandoned living spaces of people that died alone in their home.AAP: Your best memory has a photographer?My fondest memory: The first time I explored the abandoned – now demolished Michael Reese Hospital in Chicago. I had never explored an abandoned place before Michael Reese Hospital, so it opened up a whole new world for me.AAP: If you could have taken the photographs of someone else who would it be?Weegee or Walker Evans
MG Vander Elst
Belgium/United States
1967
Raised In Antwerp, Belgium, MG Vander Elst is a Fine Art Photographer and holds a Certificate of Photography from The Portfolio Center in Atlanta, Ga. She worked as a photographer’s assistant in NYC and developed her Portraiture work which later expanded to include, still life, abstract and landscape work. Art was all around her growing up in Antwerp, where she regularly visited the Ruben’s house, studied the Dutch Masters, and shared her parents love for Modern Art. The light, gesture and intimacy of the Dutch masters and the minimalism of modernists still influence her work. MG’s fine art photography approach is intuitive, stemming from an idea or an emotion. Whether photographing landscape, florals or abstracts she tries to make visible what is invisible, pursuing that intimate moment between inhale and exhale. Statement MG’s latest work in florals, still life and abstract work all stem from the same place, a place of loss, identity and forging ahead. Letting go "Floral images are my new center, I use flowers that I encounter in my neighborhood and local shops, it is no surprise to learn that these flowers embody the range of emotions I have been going through, like remembrance, growth, healing, refuge, and love. Through this process I am learning that photographing the simple lines and daintiness of these flowers they become an exercise in form, in juxtapositions and in letting go. In closely observing the shifting shapes of these living forms, who then transition, mature, and wilt I witness the contrasting paradox in beauty when blossoming or dying combined with their shaggy stalk and the petal’s ethereal texture which generates this visual dissonance that captivate me. I am not frozen and no longer afraid, but instead I am finding a rise of energy in this newfound freedom of moving in a place I have never been." Finding my Way "At the onset of the Pandemic, I lost my mother, simultaneously, my eldest son was preparing to leave for college. With the loss of my mother, I became the adult, the matriarch. The guidance I trusted and the intimacy I relied on was gone, that comfort of being the child vanished. With the anticipation of my son’s departure, I was thrusted into an uncharted emotional landscape, one where I felt undefined as a mother and did not know how to move forward. So, returning to myself and turning the camera onto my body is my way forward. By abstracting my body, I examine the shapes and textures of my form; in this pause, I am able to explore and chart my new emotional landscape. This way I am relearning who I am in order to know where I am going." Conformity "When I am creating still life’s in my own domestic spaces or in my studio. I am asking questions about my life today, as a woman, as mother and as a spouse. Whose ideas about myself am I conforming to? Why do I possess a pink razor, Is this herbal tea really soothing me? By calling attention to the everyday mundane possessions, we surround ourselves with, my intention is clear from the start. In certain instances, I juxtapose them with random objects, or I deliberately leave them by themselves. But by posing these objects in specific places I am adding a tension to the image and the one-dimensional image becomes a multi-dimensional exploration of the time we live in. I am making room for consideration, focusing on what that object means to us and what it evokes in us and why we surround ourselves with it. I aim to create a pause."
Marie-Laure Vareilles
- Testify to the variety of cultures on our planet.Education: Interior architect. I travelled on all continents, camera in hand, to testify of the diversity of countries on our planet. Over the years I have experienced different cultures, landscapes, encounters … The cultures of the entire world are in constant evolution. My work is to serve the memory of the people and their countries all around the world.- Creation of photo montage : imagine a universe of possibilities, elaborate the encounter of the unlikely. Mixing elements, transforming scale relations, rejecting logical constructions... Today I give a new life to the thousands of negatives taken, recreating imaginary worlds where poetry, dreams and surrealism alternate.- Permanent exhibition : Marseille : galerie Massalia; Vaison la Romaine, in the old town : atelier ANSATU & MAILOAll about Marie Laure Vareilles:AAP: When did you realize you wanted to be a photographer?It was not my dream.AAP:Do you have a mentor?I remember about the first exhibition I have visited : it was Salgado with beautiful works in black and white. The subject he had worked on was men working by hand, all over the world... Beautiful.AAP: How long have you been a photographer?I took my first photo in 1985, while traveling in Turquey. It was my first trip alone abroad and I wanted to share my impresion with my family. Taking photos seemed to be the best medium for sharing places I had visited, people I had met.AAP: What or who inspires you? Since I am travelling and taking photos, I have realised how fast our world is changing. Faster and faster. Shooting is a way to keep testimony from a time which doesn’t exist any more : the more I travel, the more I realise that our differences are less and less visible.AAP: How could you describe your style?I shoot what I see, very quickly. But as soon as light is changing I shoot again ! Landscape, architecture, sky, people... many subjects can be interesting for the montages I create when I come back in my studio.AAP: What kind of gear do you use? Camera, lens, digital, film?Since the begining, I am working with Nikon cameras. During the last few years, I have definitly adopted digital camera. My last one is the D-800.AAP: Do you spend a lot of time editing your images?Not enough : after shooting, I spend a lot of time creating montages. For this reason I keep each photo, just in case ! But it might be a problem in the futur with hardware !AAP: Favorite(s) photographer(s)?They are so many. Editing a list would be a nightmare. Especially if I forgot to mention some of them.AAP: Your best memory has a photographer?I will never forget my experience in Bangladesh. I had never seen so many people working by hand, what ever they do, transport, create, make… they do not use use any machine. They work hard in bad conditions but they keep smiling!AAP: Your worst souvenir has a photographer?I had a bad time in Guinea. Working for an editor who wanted me to take photos from the Niger river and the every day life. The problem is I had to deal with blackmail from the people who were supposed to help me.
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
Mo Verlaan
Netherlands
1963
"After graduating from the Rietvelt Art Academy in Amsterdam, I started out in experimental theatre, creating sets on location as well as performing. In 1993, I founded De Drie Gezusters with my sisters catering to (inter)national film crews on location from a converted truck. Eight years ago, my love for photography made me enter the Photo Academy. The book and series titled Resonance was part of my graduation in 2016. In these photographs my fascination with light and luminance finds its expression. The Memory of Time is a study about the plasticity of time and light, to see time and light as something elastic. For me there is a strong correlation between the impermanence of light and the fluidity of time." "In The Memory of Time I explore abstract spaces. What interests me most, are architectural structures where light can fleet in and out, creating a new space. To me light is both a tangible and evanescent medium, if not a language. By fading, molding and carving the light in my photographs, I transform reality and move into an imaginative and intuitive realm. The process involves composing layered images that nearly look like drawings, scraping off the innate realism that is part of photography, thus creating a more sensorial and subliminal world." Winner Single Image 9th Julia Margaret Cameron Award 2016, Category Architecture. Works from the series Resonance received several Honorable Mentions: Tokyo International Foto Awards 2016 (2x), The Monochrome Awards 2016 (4x), The Monovision Photography Awards 2017 (6x), IPA 2017 (2x), IPA 2018 One Shot Harmony (1x). The series Resonance was exhibited at The Indian Photography Festival 2016. The book Resonance was exhibited at: Scan Photobooks (Spain), The Griffin Museum (USA), RPSP (UK), Tripp Gallery (UK), Unveil'd (UK). Publication in the NEW2017, 100 Best Emerging Dutch Photographers of the year 2017.
Bissera Videnova
Bulgaria
1966
Bissera Videnova is a contemporary photographer, poet, writer, and editor in her native tongue. She became interested in photography at a very young age when she had already participated in movie and television productions and wanted to be in front of and behind the camera at the same time. Mrs. Videnova has published both poetry and prose for academic and online articles in her country. In 2012, she won the Mediterranean Women Forum with a short story. She had a collection of poems published in her native tongue (2017) She is the editor of the first book released in Bulgarian about the artist Christo and Jeanne-Claude. She translated the upcoming issue, again in Bulgarian, of Cyril Christo's poems about Christo and Jeanne-Claude's projects. Her poems and prose were translated and published in English, Korean, Italian, Romani, and French. She participated several times in poetry readings of the Yale Poetry Club in Manhattan. As a photographer, she participated in group exhibitions in Sofia/Bulgaria, Venice/ Italy, and Tampa/ Florida. She is a member of FMoPA (Florida Museum of Photographic Arts), finalist of Siena International 2020,2021; BECA Photo Awards 2021; July 2020 Bissera published her first photo book "The Speed of My Life" inspired by her poem on early emotional loss. Statement Globalization, which overtook after the collapse of communism, the nations enclose in capsules because of the language, are the most common parts of my themes. My quests are in the dissolving of the human ego into the ego of the rest around and into the demands of society. I am interested in both theories of time - one is that time flows linearly in our physical world and the other is metaphysical, that everything happens at the same time. Photography as an art is also relevant to the time. For me, it is not an immediate record of reality, a testimony, but a process that I go through myself first while shooting, then while editing and finally, if necessary, to manipulate the images. I seek the real personal story and not the person as a role model. As a poet, I need wordless images that contain apparent emotionality. I try to find the detail or the anchor remaining in the unconscious after disappearing from the picture; where are the limits of individuality versus the society at large. I am interested in my role as a bridge between the generations. Has what I have learned and what I pass on broken down somewhere on the "wire" and when communication is disrupted in the modern world, even more so now, in a time of the pandemic, are only technologies to blame? Is there a conflict between people and machines - a question I often think about and is the subject of an unfinished play? More and more people are reaching out to photography as a means of expression. Just like poetry and prose, they are beginning to heal their emotional body by separating their personality and life from themselves and starting to look away. The narration of yourself also contains the topics you work on and how you approach the technique. "Regarding the Pain of the Others" on Sontag is also a choice. The books are a testament to the time and culture in which the author lives. Besides, the photographs have one more advantage - the light that can immediately unveil the secret of the photo.
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