The photograph is the only picture that can truly convey information, even if it is
technically faulty and the object can barely be identified. A painting of a murder
is of no interest whatever; but a photograph of a murder fascinates everyone.
— Gerhard Richter, quoted in [Obrist, 1995], 56–57.
|Joel Sartore, A marsh in New Mexico's Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge reflects a group of sandhill cranes.
Whether it conveys any stories or not, a photograph is an instantaneous graphic design by a camera. To be a good photograph,it must adhere to all the artistic elements of design; i.e., a balanced composition, a harmonious colour scheme, and above all an authentic expression of a good idea -- all these must be artistic. Of course, this definition is intentionally vague, but art defies any definitions. A photograph will be artistic only when it has artistic elements.
|Plum Tree, China, Raymond Gehman, National Geographic
A painter like Vermeer can add to the artistic content of a photograph, because he adds the magic of his human soul. This extra dimension is introduced without any mechanical or technological intermediation. However, when it comes to immediate and objective narratives it is Camera that has the upper hand. In Camera Lucida, Barthes explains two sets of meaning in a photograph; the studium and the punctum. He describes his interest in the studium, whether received as political testimony or enjoyed as good historical scenes, as matter of grasping the photographer’s intention, of entering into harmony with him, of approving or disapproving of him but also to trying to understand him.
The studium is that very wide field of unconcerned desire, of various interest, of inconsequential taste: I like / I don't like. The studium is of the order of liking, not of loving; it mobilizes a half desire, a demi-volition; it is the same sort of vague, slippery, irresponsible interest one takes in the people, the entertainments, the books, the clothes one finds ‘all right.’ To recognize the studium is inevitably to encounter the photographer's intentions, to enter into harmony with [them].Barthes explains that he could not find a French word for this type of educated exploration, and that is why he used the Latin word Studium;
which does not mean, at least not immediately, “study”, but application to a thing, taste for someone, a kind of general, enthusiastic commitment, of course, but without special acuity. (...) It is by studium that I am interested in so many photographs, whether I receive them as political testimony or enjoy them as good historical scenes: for it is culturally (this connotation is present in studium) that I participate in the figures, the faces, the gestures, the setting, the actions.Thus the studium is basically an intellectual discipline whose outcome springs from the capacity for understanding held by the spectator (Skjaerven, 2008). But some Photographs go beyond providing information, they include an idea, an artistic concept, a thought provoking impact. In Barthes' words:
The second element will break (or punctuate) the studium. This time is it not I who seek it out (as I invest the field of the studium with my sovereign consciousness), it is this element which rises from the scene, shoots out f it like an arrow, and pierces me. A Latin word exist to designate this wound, this prick, this mark made by a pointed instrument: the word suits me all the better in that is also refers to the notion of punctuation, and because the photographs I am speaking of are in effect punctuated, sometimes even speckled with these sensitive points; precisely these marks are so many points.
A Latin word exist to designate this wound, this prick, this mark made by a pointed instrument: the word suits me all the better in that is also refers to the notion of punctuation, and because the photographs I am speaking of are in effect punctuated, sometimes even speckled with these sensitive points; precisely these marks are so many points.
This second element which will disturb the studium I shall therefore call punctum; for punctum is also: sting, speck, cut, little hole – and also the cast of the dice. A photograph’s punctum is that accident which pricks me (but also bruises me, is poignant to me).
Many photographs are, alas, inert under my gaze. But even among those which have some existence in my eyes, most provoke only a general and, so to speak,polite interest: they have no punctum in them: they please or displease me without pricking me: they are invested with no more than studium.The studium is that very wide field of unconcerned desire, of various interest, of inconsequential taste: I like / I don’t like .
This second element, the ‘punctum, breaks (or punctuates) the studium. This time it is not I who seek it out (as I invest the field of the studium with my sovereign consciousness) It is this element (the punctum) which rises from the scene, shoots out of it like an arrow, and pierces me.
Perhaps the mystery of photographs emanate from a rich narrative that is captured in one instant. A narrative needs time to take shape but as Robin Le Poidevin (1997) in his article entitled "Time and the Static Image" has written:
Photographs, paintings, rigid sculptures: all these provide examples of static images. It is true that they change-photographs fade, paintings darken and sculptures crumble-but what change they undergo (unless very damaging) is irrelevant to their representational content. A static image is one that represents by virtue of properties which remain largely unchanged throughout its existence. Because of this defining feature, according to a long tradition in aesthetics, a static image can only represent an instantaneous moment, or to be more exact the state of affairs obtaining at that moment. It cannot represent movement and the passage of time.But can one really look at Nick Ut's 'Napalm Girl' and do not see movement and the passage of time?
|Nick Ut, 'Napalm Girl', 1972
The idea that pictorial art can have cognitive value, that it can enhance our understanding of the world and of our own selves, has had many advocates in art theory and philosophical aesthetics alike. There are those like K. Walton who argue that photographs are transparent in the sense that there are significant similarities between the way that photographs provide visual experiences and the way that ordinary vision provides visual experiences. He writes:
I must warn against watering down this suggestion, against taking it to be a colorful, or exaggerated, or not quite literal way of making a relatively mundane point. I am not saying that the person looking at the dusty photographs has the impression of seeing his ancestors — in fact, he doesn’t have the impression of seeing them “in the flesh,” with the unaided eye. I am not saying that photography supplements vision by helping us to discover things we can’t discover by seeing. . . . Nor is my point that what we see — photographs — are duplicates or doubles or reproductions of objects, or substitutes or surrogates for them. My claim is that we see, quite literally, our dead relatives themselves when we look at photographs of them.Be that as it may, however, Stephanie Ross (1982) in ‘What photographs can’t do’, argues that nonnarrative pictures are confined to appearances, and so cannot promote the kind of understanding necessary for moral knowledge. She argues to evaluate a certain state of affairs one must understand how the state of affairs came to be; one needs to gain ‘a sense of events, causally linked, unfolding in time’, as ‘different stories yield different evaluations’.
|Lone protester clutching a shopping bag prevents a line of tanks from reaching Tiananmen Square, Beijing, June 4 1989. Photo: AP
The introduction of the Kodak # 1 camera in 1888, invented and marketed by George Eastman (1854–1932), a former bank clerk in Rochester, New York, ushered in a new era in communication design. The Kodak was a single camera that came with a roll of 100 exposure films. After the roll was completed, the entire machine was returned to the Rochester plant, where it was reloaded and returned to the customer while the first roll was processed.
Although the Kodak was made possible by technical advancements in the development of roll film and small fixed-focus cameras, Eastman's real genius lay in its marketing strategy. The Kodak product was initially marketed to women, who often played a central role in advertising. By simplifying the device and even processing the film for the consumer, Kodak made photography accessible to millions of women without any special professional training, technical expertise or aesthetic qualification. Kodak became so dominant in photography that by 1976, 85% of all film cameras and 90% of all film sold in the US was Kodak.
In 1893, the Kodak girl, a character embodying independence and travel, began to appear in publicity photos. Unsurprisingly, the competition quickly emulated Kodak, and other camera companies have also included women in their campaigns with great success.
Camera catalogue, Blair Camera Company, around 1902. Cover shows a woman holding the No 3 Folding Weno Hawk-Eye
|Young people on the Brooklyn waterfront on Sept. 11
To understand these issues two case studies of the two photographs one by Thomas Hoepker and the other by Richard Drew both taken on 11 September 2001 are quite informative. In Thomas Hoepker's, photograph a group of New Yorkers sit chatting in the sun in a park in Brooklyn. Behind them, across brilliant blue water, in an azure sky, a terrible cloud of smoke and dust rises above lower Manhattan from the place where two towers were struck by hijacked airliners this same morning and have collapsed, killing, by fire, smoke, falling or jumping or crushing and tearing and fragmentation in the buildings' final fall, nearly 3,000 people.
According to W. J. T. Mitchell representation through signs or symbols is a mediated relationship between the maker and the viewer of one object that stands for another. “Representation is always of something or someone, by something or someone, to someone". The problem is that when someone is dishonest he can manipulate and misrepresent. In this photgraph Thomas Hoepker is the re presenter. According to him:
This image happened, in passing, so to speak, when I tried to make my way down to southern Manhattan on the morning of 9/11. I live on the Upper East Side of Manhattan and, being a seasoned photojournalist, I followed my professional instinct, trying hard to get as close as possible to the horrendous event. When I heard that the subway had stopped running I took out the car, only to get stuck immediately in traffic on Second Avenue. I took my chances by crossing the Queensborough Bridge. Then, turning south into Queens and Brooklyn, I stayed close to the East River, stopping here and there to shoot views of the distant catastrophe, which unfolded on the horizon to my right. The car radio provided horrific news, nonstop. The second tower of the World Trade Center had just imploded; estimates of more than 20,000 deaths were quoted and later discredited.
Somewhere in Williamsburg I saw, out of the corner of my eye, an almost idyllic scene near a restaurant—flowers, cypress trees, a group of young people sitting in the bright sunshine of this splendid late summer day while the dark, thick plume of smoke was rising in the background. I got out of the car, shot three frames of the seemingly peaceful setting and drove on hastily, hoping/fearing to get closer to the unimaginable horrors at the tip of Manhattan.
One of the persons that this photograph was represented to him was The New York Times Op-Ed Columnist Frank Rich who wrote:
Mr. Hoepker’s picture (...) shows five young friends on the waterfront in Brooklyn, taking what seems to be a lunch or bike-riding break, enjoying the radiant late-summer sun and chatting away as cascades of smoke engulf Lower Manhattan in the background.Another viewer of the photograph was David Plotz, the editor of Slate, who wrote:
Mr. Hoepker found his subjects troubling. “They were totally relaxed like any normal afternoon,” he told Mr. Friend. “It’s possible they lost people and cared, but they were not stirred by it.” The photographer withheld the picture from publication because “we didn’t need to see that, then.” He feared “it would stir the wrong emotions.” But “over time, with perspective,” he discovered, “it grew in importance.”
Seen from the perspective of 9/11’s fifth anniversary, Mr. Hoepker’s photo is prescient as well as important — a snapshot of history soon to come. What he caught was this: Traumatic as the attack on America was, 9/11 would recede quickly for many. This is a country that likes to move on, and fast. The young people in Mr. Hoepker’s photo aren’t necessarily callous. They’re just American. In the five years since the attacks, the ability of Americans to dust themselves off and keep going explains both what’s gone right and what’s gone wrong on our path to the divided and dispirited state the nation finds itself in today.
But wait! Look at the photograph. Do you agree with Rich's account of it? Do these look like five New Yorkers who are "enjoying the radiant late-summer sun and chatting away"? Who have "move[d] on"? Who—in Rich's malicious, backhanded swipe—"aren't necessarily callous"? They don't to me. I wasn't there, and Hoepker was, so it may well be that they were just swapping stories about the Yankees. But I doubt it. The subjects are obviously engaged with each other, and they're almost certainly discussing the horrific event unfolding behind them. They have looked away from the towers for a moment not because they're bored with 9/11, but because they're citizens participating in the most important act in a democracy—civic debate.
Ask yourself: What are these five people doing out on the waterfront, anyway? Do you really think, as Rich suggests, that they are out for "a lunch or bike-riding break"? Of course not. They came to this spot to watch their country's history unfold and to be with each other at a time of national emergency. Short of rushing to Ground Zero and digging for bodies, how much more patriotic and concerned could they have been?
So they turned their backs on Manhattan for a second. A nice metaphor for Rich to exploit, but a cheap shot. I was in Washington on 9/11. I spent much of the day glued to my TV set, but I also spent it racing home to be with my infant daughter, calling my parents and New York relatives, and talking, talking, talking with colleagues and friends. Those discussions were exactly the kind of communal engagement I see in this photo. There is nothing "shocking" in this picture. These New Yorkers have not turned away from Manhattan because they have turned away from 9/11. They have turned away from Manhattan because they have turned toward each other for solace and for debate.
However, what (mis?)-represented were the five New Yorkers. In fact, Walter Sipser, identifying himself as the guy in shades at the right of the picture wrote:
A snapshot can make mourners attending a funeral look like they're having a party.And Chris Schiavo, Sipser's girlfriend at the time, (the woman second from the right in the photo) wrote:
Thomas Hoepker took a photograph of my girlfriend and me sitting and talking with strangers against the backdrop of the smoking ruin of the World Trade Center on September 11th. Earlier, she and I had watched the buildings collapse from my rooftop in Brooklyn and had made our way down to the waterfront. The Williamsburg Bridge was filled with hundreds of people, covered in dust, helping one another make their way onto the street. It was clear that people who ordinarily would not have spoken two words to each other were suddenly bound together, which I suppose must be a fairly common occurrence in the aftermath of a catastrophe.
We were in a profound state of shock and disbelief, like everyone else we encountered that day. Thomas Hoepker did not ask permission to photograph us nor did he make any attempt to ascertain our state of mind before concluding five years later that, "It's possible they lost people and cared, but they were not stirred by it." Had Hoepker walked fifty feet over to introduce himself he would have discovered a bunch of New Yorkers in the middle of an animated discussion about what had just happened. He instead chose to publish the photograph that allowed him to draw the conclusions he wished to draw, conclusions that also led Frank Rich to write, "The young people in Mr. Hoepker's photo aren't necessarily callous. They're just American." A more honest conclusion might start by acknowledging just how easily a photograph can be manipulated, especially in the advancement of one's own biases or in the service of one's own career.
I am also a professional photographer and did not touch a camera that day. Why? For many reasons including a now-obvious one: This somewhat cynical expression of an assumed reality printed in the New York Times proves a good reason. (Shame on Mr. Rich and Mr. Hoepker—one should never assume.) But most of all to keep both hands free, just in case there was actually something I could do to alter this day or affect a life, to experience every nanosecond in every molecule of my body, rather than place a lens between myself and the moment. (Sounds pretty "callous," huh?) I also have a strict policy of never taking a photograph of a person without their permission or knowledge of my intent.The second photo or according to its Associated Press photographer Richard Drew; “THE most famous picture nobody’s ever seen” is the photo of an unidentified World Trade Center victim hurtling to his death on 9/11. "Richard Drew started shooting pictures through a 200mm lens. He was standing between a cop and an emergency technician" wrote Tom Junod of Esquire
and each time one of them cried, "There goes another," his camera found a falling body and followed it down for a nine- or twelve-shot sequence. He shot ten or fifteen of them before he heard the rumbling of the South Tower and witnessed, through the winnowing exclusivity of his lens, its collapse. He was engulfed in a mobile ruin, but he grabbed a mask from an ambulance and photographed the top of the North Tower "exploding like a mushroom" and raining debris. He discovered that there is such a thing as being too close, and, deciding that he had fulfilled his professional obligations, Richard Drew joined the throng of ashen humanity heading north, walking until he reached his office at Rockefeller Center. (...)
In most American newspapers, the photograph that Richard Drew took of the Falling Man ran once and never again. Papers all over the country, from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram to the Memphis Commercial Appeal to The Denver Post, were forced to defend themselves against charges that they exploited a man's death, stripped him of his dignity, invaded his privacy, turned tragedy into leering pornography. Most letters of complaint stated the obvious: that someone seeing the picture had to know who it was. Still, even as Drew's photograph became at once iconic and impermissible, its subject remained unnamed
The reaction to those photos was like the reaction of the viewers of Tumbling Woman by Eric Fischl who claimed wanted to express the extremity of his feelings by making a monument to what he called the "extremity of choice" faced by the people who jumped. But the day after his work was exhibited in New York's Rockefeller Center, Andrea Peyser of the New York Post denounced it in a column titled "Shameful Art Attack."
As grieving New Yorkers marked the anniversary of the World Trade Center’s destruction, the folks at Rockefeller Center got in your face to commemorate the terror attacks.
A violently disturbing sculpture popped up last week in the middle of Rock Center’s busy underground concourse – right in front of the ice-skating rink. It depicts a naked woman, limbs flailing, face contorted, at the exact moment her head smacks pavement following her leap from the flaming World Trade Center.
The worst part about the piece is that you can’t miss it. Even if you try.
|Tumbling Woman by Eric Fischl
In Camera Lucida, Roland Barthes reﬂects that:
Photography evades us. The various distributions we impose upon it are in fact either empirical (Professionals / Amateurs), ~or rhetorical (Landscapes / Objects / Portraits / Nudes), or else aesthetic (Realism / Pictorialism), in any case external to the object, without relation to its essence, which can only be (if it exists at all) the New of which it has been the advent; for these classifications might very well be applied to other, older forms of representation. We might say that Photography is unclassifiable. Then I wondered what the source of this disorder might be.He then states:
‘[a]lways the Photograph astonishes me [m’étonne], with an astonishment which endures and renews itself, inexhaustibly. Perhaps this astonishment, this persistence reaches down into the religious substance out of which I am molded’In a rather similar vein Susan Sontag argues that:
Photographs are perhaps the most mysterious of all the objects that make up, and thicken, the environment we recognize as modern. Photographs really are the experience captured, and the camera is the ideal arm of consciousness in its acquisitive mood.Then, perhaps to the hearts satisfaction of those young people on the Brooklyn waterfront on 9/ 11 she continues by stating that:
To photograph people is to violate them, by seeing them as they never see themselves, by having knowledge of them they can never have; it turns people into objects that can be symbolically possessed. Just as the camera is a sublimation of the gun, to photograph someone is a sublimated murder – a soft murder appropriate to a sad, frightened time.... and she offers an opinion that sounds rather strange. She states that:
photographs give people an imaginary possession of a past that is unreal, they also help to take possession of space in which they are insecure.I think this is definitely true for some spaces such as, for instance, the space in which General Nguyen Ngoc Loan executed a Vietcong prisoner in Saigon, and was captured in the famous photograph by Eddie Adams, but I wonder if one has the same insecure feeling in a street of Paris photographed by Atget.
Adams won a Pulitzer Prize for his photograph the year after it was published in The New York Times, but he never wanted to speak of the image. After he retired from photography, he gave classes at various art and design schools. Whenever a student asked him about the “Saigon Execution”, he would swiftly cut them off and move on. Adams has eternalized that moment of intense anxiety and pain on the face of a man who is about to die, and in the body language of the man who takes justice in his own hands,inflicting such a pain in cold blood. In her Regarding the Pain of Others, Susan Sontag points out that the picture was both authentic and staged – "by General Loan, who had led the prisoner, hands tied behind his back, out to the street where journalists had gathered. He would not have carried out the summary execution there had they not been available to witness it". Wearily, Sontag concludes that "one can gaze at these faces for a long time and not come to the end of the mystery, and the indecency, of such co-spectatorship".
In her MA dissertation, entitled Flashpoints in History, Lenette Vlasman has anlysed two published versions of the “Saigon Execution”.
|Saigon Execution - a
|Saigon Execution - b
Even though it seems like images a and b do not differ much, the fact is that they do – and in a way one might consider censorship. When the editor of The New York Times cut Adams’ photo, he only cut strips from the right and upper side of the image, leaving the bottom and left side as they were. This means that the cross points of the lines of the “rule of thirds” shift slightly to the left and bottom. This might seem like an unimportant detail, but in fact it changes how many people would look at the image. In Adams’ original print, the rule-of-thirds-lines fall exactly on the prisoner’s face, two of the lines crossing straight over his heart. The focus is supposed to lie on the prisoner here. In the editor’s cut, however, the face of the General falls on the intersections of the rule of third-lines almost exactly – neither is his gun far away from them. It is striking that the face of the Vietcong prisoner is completely off the lines, indicating that he is not important at all. With the rule of third-lines now having shifted, it seems like the image might be interpreted entirely differently.Of course, one can have an entirely different interpretation. It appears to me that the version a, focuses on the act of shooting -- that is the story. In the image b, we have an equally powerful story that interferes with the above narrative. Here the story appears to be two entirely different human reactions. Focus on the face of the solder on the left, perhaps he is enjoying a sense of revenge, and now focus on the completely oblivious character on the right. These two diametrically opposed reactions encompass a very familiar perspective on human drama, in a Hegelian framework. As Barthes writes:
I passed beyond the unreality of the thing represented, I entered crazily into the spectacle, into the image.”Such a response, Barthes proposed, arose because images have an immeasurable power— the power to overwhelm the subject and shatter their sense of self. This sublime experience of losing oneself in the image is underpinned by an approach that sees the image as equivalent with reality, and vice versa.
On the other hand, however, the technology is continuously advancing and has provided photographers with sophisticated software and tools, some of which can completely distort photographs, providing an artificial state of affairs, leaving the viewers with a diminished reality. There is an obvious conflict developing betwixt aesthetics and ethical. Are all photos going to be better than the actual subject in the picture? Advertising relies heavily on photo manipulation to make their products look better or to make something look like something it is not, especially since there are currently no laws restricting photo-editing use in published photos.
Some artists work as photojournalists, whose tasks are different from photographers in that they cannot be as liberal with their editing powers as fashion magazines are. They are bound by a code of ethics, and that makes the achievement of a true art form much more difficult but also much more rewarding. They have to be accurate and comprehensive in the representation of subjects, and resist being manipulated by staged photo opportunities. They need to recognize and work to avoid presenting their own biases in the work, and treat all subjects with respect and dignity. Give special consideration to vulnerable subjects and compassion to victims of crime or tragedy. Intrude on private moments of grief only when the public has an overriding and justifiable need to see. and so on and so forth.
But even before computers, photo manipulation was achieved by retouching with ink, paint, double-exposure, piecing photos or negatives together in the darkroom, or scratching Polaroids. The first recorded case of photo manipulation was in the early 1860s, when a photo of Abraham Lincoln was altered using the body from a portrait of John C. Calhoun and the head of Lincoln from a famous seated portrait by Mathew Brady – the same portrait which was the basis for the original Lincoln Five-dollar bill.
|Composite of Abraham Lincoln and John Calhoun, c. 1860's
Joseph Stalin and Mao Zedong made use of photo retouching for propaganda purposes. David King has identified about 30 of retouched photographs of Stalin era for his 1997 book, "The Commissar Vanishes: The Falsification of Photographs and Art in Stalin's Russia." For Stalin and Mao photographs were a powerful reminder of the truth about the roles and the characters of their enemies. That's why they decided to erase that evidence.
|The missing person is Peng Zhen, also once a CCP leader. He was purged during the Cultural Revolution for opposing Mao's views on the role of literature in relation to the state.
The 1980s saw the advent of digital retouching with Quantel computers running Paintbox, and Scitex imaging workstations being used professionally. In recent years, TIME, Newsweek, Harper’s, Reuters, USA Today, the New York Times, and the Los Angeles Times, to name a few news sources, have each been widely criticized when it was revealed that they published doctored photographs, often on their covers or front-pages. In 2004, the scientific community was rocked by a scandal when it was revealed that the ground-breaking stem cell research of a highly respected scientist was fabricated, based on doctored images he included in his published scientific papers.
|Both Time and Newsweek magazines worked from the same mugshot of O. J. Simpson, but Time's color enhancement radically changed the impact of the image, portraying him as a sinister character. Many thought that Time's had overstepped the ethical line.
There is a growing body of writings devoted to the ethical use of digital editing in photojournalism. Here is part of the Associated Press Code of Ethics for Photojournalists;
AP pictures must always tell the truth.
We do not alter or digitally manipulate the content of a photograph in any way.
The content of a photograph must not be altered in Photoshop or by any other means.
No element should be digitally added to or subtracted from any photograph.
The faces or identities of individuals must not be obscured by Photoshop or any other editing tool.
Only retouching or the use of the cloning tool to eliminate dust on camera sensors and scratches on scanned negatives or scanned prints are acceptable.
Minor adjustments in Photoshop are acceptable. These include cropping, dodging and burning, conversion into grayscale, and normal toning and color adjustments that should be limited to those minimally necessary for clear and accurate reproduction (analogous to the burning and dodging previously used in darkroom processing of images) and that restore the authentic nature of the photograph.
Changes in density, contrast, color and saturation levels that substantially alter the original scene are not acceptable.
Backgrounds should not be digitally blurred or eliminated by burning down or by aggressive toning.
The removal of “red eye” from photographs is not permissible.
Pioneers of Artistic Photography
Oscar Gustav Rejlander was born in Sweden in 1813. The son of a Swedish army officer who also worked as a stonemason, he became infatuated with Raphael's famous mural, The School of Athens, when studying the painting of the Old Masters in Rome. Later, he used the fresco's oppositional views and composition in his photomontages.
After relocating to Lincoln, England, Rejlander quickly changed from a portrait miniaturist and painter to photography after receiving some instruction from one of William Henry Fox Talbot's assistants, and in 1846, he studied the calotype process at Nicholas Henneman's London studio. Soon, he acquired the reputation a reputation as a versatile photographer, specializing in genre scenes, portrature, book illustrations, and religious allegories. As well, he used young female models, members of a theatrical troupe, to pose as prostitutes and street urchins, which caught the attention of Lewis Carroll, author of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and himself an accomplished amateur photographer.
Like most photographers of the mid-nineteenth century, Rejlander supported himself primarily through portraiture. His social activism was reflected in Poor Joe (1861), inspired by London's growing number of homeless children. He also made portraits for celebrity clients like Lewis Carroll and poet Alfred Lord Tennyson. He married Mary Bull in 1862, a young woman half his age who had posed as one of his teenage models in Wolverhampton. Naturalist Charles Darwin contacted him in 1871 with a request to produce photographs for his text entitled On the Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals. Although the book itself was not commercially successful, Rejlander's photograph Mental Distress sold an amazing 250,000 cartes-de-visite and 60,000 prints.
Suffering from either Bright's Disease or diabetes, Rejlander's failing health affected his ability to work, and he had to sell many of his prized paintings to pay off some of his debts. He died nearly penniless on January 18, 1875.
Henry Peach Robinson, a pioneer of pictorialist photography, was born in 1830. He was the oldest of four children of a schoolmaster. He was educated at Horatio Russell's academy in Ludlow and a year's drawing tuition with Richard Penwarne before being apprenticed to a Ludlow bookseller and printer, Richard Jones. In 1852, Robinson began taking photographs, and five years later decided to make a living out it, and opened a studio in Leamington Spa, selling portraits. Soon he was known as "the King of photographic picture-making", and was very influential until the time of Peter Henry Emerson, who introduced naturalistic photography. Robinson was greatly influenced by the paintings of J.M.W. Turner, and numerous references to him appear in his writings.
In 1862 Robinson was elected to serve on the Council of the Photographic Society, and continued to serve on that body until 1891 when, frustrated by the failure of the Society to recognize the artistic dimensions of photography, he resigned (whilst still its Vice-President) and formed the Linked Ring, a brotherhood that was to be very influential in photographic circles for the next twenty years. Robinson died in 1901 and is buried in Ben Hall Road Cemetery, Tunbridge Wells. He designed and carved the headstone of his grave.
Born Gaspard-Félix Tournachon, Félix Nadar (1820-1910), was born to a family of a liberal publisher, and grew up in Paris in the heady ferment of Romanticism. when he befriended artists and thinkers such as Gérard de Nerval, Théophile Gautier, and Charles Baudelaire.
|Sarah Bernhardt (1844–1923)
Nadar became well known for his Panthéon Nadar, a lithographic panorama of contemporary French cultural celebrities. Soon he decided to establish himself as a photographer, initially with his brother Adrien Tournachon (1825–1903), whom he pursued to apprentice to the photographer Gustave Le Gray in 1853. In 1854–5 the two brothers produced a series of portraits of the mime artist Charles Deburau, illustrating various expressions, translating the emotions, according to the studies of a neurologist. Eventually, however, relations between the two brothers deteriorated and led to two lawsuits in 1856–7, during the course of which Félix claimed exclusive right to the pseudonym Nadar.
|Nasser al-Din Shah of Iran
Nadar installed a darkroom in his garden apartment and tried out the new technique on friends who came to visit. In 1860, Nadar moved from his cozy garden apartment and studio to a huge atelier. Now the preeminent portrait emporium in Paris, Nadar's atelier attracted the bourgeois clientele of the boulevard. But with rare exceptions, as when George Sand or Sarah Bernhardt came for a sitting, Nadar left the operation to the staff, and eventually to his son Paul. He had already portrayed what was notable in his epoch and now shifted to a pursuit of the future. He photographed underground with artificial light, encouraged the development of aerial navigation, and flew the biggest balloon ever built, the Géant. After more or less retiring in 1873, and until his death in 1910, Nadar recycled his continuing passions and past escapades in several volumes of picturesque memoirs.
|sir John Herschel, 1867
In 1836-7 she travelled to Cape Town where she met the notable scientist and astronomer Sir John Herschel. Herschel was to become a life-long friend and supporter of her work. He was probably the first to introduce her to photographic processes and is the subject of some of her best known portraits. In 1837 she met Charles Hay Cameron, whom she married in Calcutta in 1838.
|Mrs. Herbert Duckworth, 1867
Julia Cameron had been involved in various aspects of the photographic process - printing negatives and photograms, compiling albums as gifts, posing for photographs and helping to stage compositions. She photographed the intellectuals and leaders within her circle of family and friends, among them the portrait painter George Frederick Watts, the astronomer Sir John Herschel, and the Poet Laureate Alfred, Lord Tennyson. She derived much of her subject inspiration from literature, and her work in turn influenced writers. In addition to literature, she drew her subject matter from the paintings of Raphael, Giotto, and Michelangelo, whose works she knew through prints that circulated widely in late nineteenth-century England.. She immediately began to register her images at the British Copyright Office, became a member of the Photographic Societies of London and Scotland and started to exhibit and sell her work.
|King Lear and his Three Daughters 1872
Her photographs were not universally admired, especially by fellow photographers. The Photographic Journal, reviewing her submissions to the annual exhibition of the Photographic Society of Scotland in 1865, reported with a condescension that infuriated her: "Mrs. Cameron exhibits her series of out-of-focus portraits of celebrities. We must give this lady credit for daring originality, but at the expense of all other photographic qualities. A true artist would employ all the resources at his disposal, in whatever branch of art he might practise. In these pictures, all that is good in photography has been neglected and the shortcomings of the art are prominently exhibited. We are sorry to have to speak thus severely on the works of a lady, but we feel compelled to do so in the interest of the art." The Illustrated London News countered, describing her portraits as "the nearest approach to art, or rather the most bold and successful applications of the principles of fine-art to photography." The Photographic Journal rebutted: "Slovenly manipulation may serve to cover want of precision in intention, but such a lack and such a mode of masking it are unworthy of commendation.
Alexander Gardner ( 1821-1882) WAS a Civil War photographer, whose works has often been attributed to his better known contemporary, Mathew Brady. It is only in recent years that the true extent of Gardner’s work has been recognized, and he has been given the credit he deserves. Gardner was born in Paisley, Scotland, later moving with his family to Glasgow. In 1850, he and his brother James travelled to the United States to establish a cooperative community in Iowa. Returning to Scotland to raise more money, Gardner purchased the Glasgow Sentinel, quickly turning it into the second largest newspaper in the city.
In 1856, Gardner decided to immigrate to America, eventually settling in New York. He soon found employment with Mathew Brady as a photographer. At first, Gardner specialized in making large photographic prints, called Imperial photographs, but as Brady’s eyesight began to fail, Gardner took on more and more responsibilities. In 1858, Brady put him in charge of the entire gallery. With the start of the Civil War in 1861, the demand for portrait photography increased, as soldiers on their way to the front posed for images to leave behind for their loved ones. Gardner became one of the top photographers in this field.
After witnessing the battle at Manassas, Virginia, Brady decided that he wanted to make a record of the war using photographs. Brady dispatched over 20 photographers, including Gardner, throughout the country to record the images of the conflict. Each man was equipped with his own travelling darkroom so that he could process the photographs on site.
In November of 1861, Gardner was granted the rank of honorary Captain on the staff of General George McClellan. This put him in an excellent position to photograph the aftermath of America’s bloodiest day, the Battle of Antietam. On September 19, 1862, two days after the battle, Gardner became the first of Brady’s photographers to take images of the dead on the field. Over 70 of his photographs were put on display at Brady’s New York gallery. In reviewing the exhibit, the New York Times stated that Brady was able to “bring home to us the terrible reality and earnestness of war. If he has not brought bodies and laid them in our door-yards and along streets, he has done something very like it…” Unfortunately, Gardner’s name was not mentioned in the review.
|Blue Horse in 1872:
Gardner went on to cover more of the war’s terrible battles, including Fredericksburg, Gettysburg, and the siege of Petersburg. He also took what is considered to be the last photograph of President Abraham Lincoln, just 5 days before his assassination. Gardner would go on to photograph the conspirators who were convicted of killing Lincoln, as well as their execution.
Eugene Atget (1857-1927) was the only child of his working-class parents, who was orphaned at an early age. Determined to be an actor, he managed to study at the Conservatoire d’Art Dramatique in Paris for a year but was dismissed to finish his military service. Thereafter he acted for several seasons in the provinces but failed to distinguish himself and left the stage. An interest in painting but lack of facility led him to take up photography in the late 1880s. His photographs are fascinating and quite enigmatic as a body of work.
By 1891 Atget had found a niche in the Parisian artistic community selling to painters photographs of animals, flowers, landscapes, monuments and urban views. In 1898 he began also to specialize in documents of Old Paris, to satisfy the popular interest in preserving the historic art and architecture of the capital. Working alone, Atget accumulated a vast stock of photographs of old houses, churches, streets, courtyards, doors, stairs, mantelpieces and other decorative motifs. He marketed these images not only to artists but also to architects, artisans, decorators, publishing houses, libraries and museums. His photographs have an authentic and thoughtful authority. They represent a unique sense of time and space and have an artistic quality that clearly is unique and striking. They represent a Baudelairean perspective of a flâneur, a reclusive artist that we know very little about his life his personal motivations or his philosophy.
In a way, the photographs are all we have. The oeuvre demonstrates this variance throughout; while Old Paris was Atget’s main theme, as he worked he occasionally made photographs that seem more picturesque, imaginative or formally inventive than others. The tendency towards personal autonomy and free expression grew more marked as Atget’s career progressed. Around 1910 he made seven carefully composed albums that he sold to the Bibliothèque Nationale (see Nesbit), and in 1912 he broke off a continuing assignment to survey the topography of the central wards of the old city for the Bibliothèque Historique de la Ville de Paris. His pictorial production continued to fall during World War I, when he photographed hardly at all. It's a testament to the power of his photographs and the strength of Atget's convictions, that despite the lack of circumstantial testimony about the inner workings of their maker, his photographs have continued to exert an influence on generations of fellow photographers.
Atget’s photographs achieve an uncanny sense of indeterminacy that, Benjamin argues, offers a potentially new use- value for photography: a way of making and understanding photography as a form of evidence. From 1922 until his death Atget more often made pictures whose usefulness as reports to architects or decorators was questionable. The metaphorical power, suggestive mood and pictorial innovation in the late work appealed rather to an audience of poets and painters such as Man Ray, Jean Cocteau, Robert Desnos (1900–45) and other Surrealists, who hailed the photographer as a ‘naive’ whose straight yet sentient attitude had analogies with their own.
Stieglitz was born in Hoboken, New Jersey in 1864, but spent much of his early adulthood in Europe. By the turn of the 20th century, Stieglitz had begun to establish himself as a photographer, known for his black-and-white images of urban scenes. Though he rarely sold his work, he lived off the allowances afforded to him by his family long enough to set up a small photography business in New York, called the Photochrome Engraving Company. During this period, Stieglitz was also frequently contributing to The American Amateur Photographer magazine, as well as the later Camera Work publication, eventually abandoning his business in favor of opening his own gallery – “Little Galleries of the Photo-Secession.” He arranged countless exhibitions of his and his friends’ works, constantly seeking to validate the medium of photography by showing photographs alongside paintings, sculptures, drawings and prints.
|Alfred Stieglitz, "Venetian Canal" (also called "A Bit of Venice"), 1897
It was his interest in other modern media that led him to meet his second wife, the renowned American painter, Georgia O’Keeffe. Stieglitz exhibited her work at his gallery in 1916, launching one of the most famous artistic partnerships in American art history. Throughout his later years, Stieglitz continued to practice photography, write for journals and foster the careers of other artists at his gallery, achieving his first major museum exhibition at the Cleveland Museum of Art in 1937. He died in 1946, leaving behind an oeuvre of more than 2,500 mounted photographs.
Philippe Halsman (1906-1979) was born in Riga, Latvia, he is known for his celebrity portraits and surrealist pictures. The series of images portraying Salvador Dali were very innovative. The visionary painter couldn’t operate a camera but recognized the opportunity to express himself through a different media. Philippe converted Dali’s ideas into photos. The results benefit both artist and show Dali’s enigmatic imagination on the contrasty distinct look of the great Philippe Halsman.
Halsman photographed some of the most celebrated figures of the mid-20th century—from artists to movies stars to politicians. Early in his career, he took photographs for fashion magazines and cosmetics companies, thereafter venturing into photojournalism, with 101 Life magazine covers to his credit. His close-cropped, sharp-focus portraits were infused with a warmth and sense of humor that revealed Halsman’s ability to make his subjects feel comfortable in front of the camera.
Dorothea Lange (1895- 1965) was born Dorothea Nutzhorn in Hoboken, New Jersey to a lawyer family. At seven she contracted polio, which left her right leg and foot noticeably weakened. Dorothea grew to blame her father for divorcing her mom and eventually took her mother’s maiden name, Lange, as her own. Following high school, Lange decided to pursue photography as a profession, and studied the art form at Columbia University, and then, over the next several years worked for several different photographers, including Arnold Genthe, a leading portrait photographer.
|Migrant Mother, Nipomo, California , 1936
Lange’s first real taste of documentary photography came in the 1920s when she traveled around the Southwest with Dixon, mostly photographing Native Americans. With the onslaught of the Great Depression in the 1930s, she trained her camera on what she started to see in her own San Francisco neighborhoods: labor strikes and breadlines.
With the onset of the Great Depression in 1929, Lange, mired in an unhappy marriage, met Paul Taylor, a university professor and labor economist. Their attraction was immediate, and by 1935, both had left their respective spouses to be with each other. Over the next five years, the couple traveled extensively together, documenting the rural hardship they encountered for the Farm Security Administration, established by the U.S. Agriculture Department. Taylor wrote reports, and Lange photographed the people they met. This body of work included Lange’s most well-known portrait, “Migrant Mother,” an iconic image from this period that gently and beautifully captured the hardship and pain of what so many Americans were experiencing.
In 1939, in collaboration with Taylor, who provided the text, she published An American Exodus, which dealt with the same social problems. In 1941 she was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship, and this allowed her to take a series of photographs of religious groups in the USA, such as those of the Amish people (1941; Oakland, CA, Mus.). In 1942 she worked for the War Relocation Authority and from 1943 to 1945 for the Office of War Information in San Francisco. Illness prevented her working from 1945 to 1951, after which she produced photographs of the Mormons and of rural life in Ireland for articles in Life in 1954 and 1955. In 1958–9 she worked with Taylor in East Asia and in 1960 accompanied him to South America. She worked in Egypt and the Middle East in 1962–3, producing such photographs as Procession Bearing Food to the Dead, Upper Egypt (1963; Oakland, CA, Mus.) in the detached, documentary style that characterizes all her work. Lange died of esophageal cancer on October 11, 1965 in San Francisco, California at age 70.
|June 1937. "Child of Texas migrant family who follow the cotton crop from Corpus Christi to the Panhandle."
Lewis Hine (1874- 1940) was born in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, and educated as a sociologist at the University of Chicago, during the years when John Dewey and Thorstein Veblen were on its faculty. He continued his education at New York and Columbia Universities, and taught at the School of Ethical Culture. Hine was past thirty when he seriously took up photography; by instinct and by training he conceived of the medium as a means of studying and describing the social conditions around him.
In 1908, Hine accepted a position as chief investigator and photographer for the National Child Labor Committee (NCLC), a private organization founded in 1904 to promote legislation to protect children from exploitation by American industry. Children as young as four years old labored in a variety of trades for up to twelve hours a day. During the sixteen years that Hine worked for the NCLC (often posing as an insurance inspector to gain access to the worksite), he made some 5,000 photographs of children at work in mines, farms, canneries, sweatshops, and the street. Less troubling than many of Hine's pictures of child labor, this casual portrait of a trio of newspaper sellers, or newsies, shows the young boys awkwardly assuming the roles and mannerisms of manhood.
Hine was one of the masters of a splendid new camera called the Graflex. For the first fifty-odd years of photography, the photographer had to compose and focus his picture upside-down on a groundglass in the back of his camera, then insert the holder that held the sensitive plate. Once the plate was in the camera, the photographer was shooting blind, unable to change either his framing or his focusing.
With the Graflex on the other hand, he saw his picture just as the camera would record it until the very instant that he pushed the trigger. This meant that he could frame his subject boldly, to the very edges of the plate; he could change his angle of view at the last moment; he could focus selectively on the most important plane of his subject, allowing the nearer and farther planes to be recorded out of focus. His picture is characteristic of the new kind of graphic economy and forcefulness that Hine helped discover for photography.
Henri Cartier-Bresson (1908 -2004) was born in Chanteloup, France, into a wealth family of a textile manufacturer—but he later joked that due to his parents' frugal ways, it often seemed as though his family was poor. Educated in Paris, Cartier-Bresson developed an early love for literature and the arts. But, as a teenager, he rebelled against his parents' formal ways and drifted toward communism. But it was art that remained at the center of his life. In 1927 he began a two-year stint studying painting under noted early Cubist, André Lhote, then moved to Cambridge University to immerse himself further in art and literature courses.
Sparked by the avant-garde scene enveloping Paris, and fresh from his release from the Army, which had stationed him just outside Paris, Cartier-Bresson traveled to Africa in 1931 that fuel an interest in photography in him, taking pictures of the new world around him. "I adore shooting photographs," he'd later note. "It's like being a hunter. But some hunters are vegetarians—which is my relationship to photography." Upon returning to France later that year, Cartier-Bresson purchased his first 35mm Leica, a camera whose simple style and stunning results would help define the photographer's work. He had a disdain for the augmented image, one that had been enhanced by artificial light, dark room effects, even cropping. The naturalist in Cartier-Bresson believed that all edits should be done when the image was made. His equipment load was often light: a 50mm lens and if he needed it, a longer 90mm lens.
Cartier-Bresson's rise as a photographer proved rapid. By the mid 1930s he'd shown his work in major exhibits in Mexico, New York, and Madrid. Cartier-Bresson worked on a handful of Renoir films, including his most critically acclaimed, La Règle Du Jeu (1939). In 1940 following the German invasion of France he joined the army but was soon captured by German forces and forced into prison-of-war camp for the next three years. In 1943, after two failed attempts, Cartier-Bresson escaped for good and immediately returned to his photography and film work. He created a photo department for the resistance and following the end of the war, was commissioned by the United States to direct a documentary about the return of French prisoners. Man of the World. Not long after the war, Cartier-Bresson traveled east, spending considerable time in India, where he met and photographed Mahatma Gandhi shortly before his assassination in 1948. Cartier-Bresson's subsequent work to document Gandhi's death and its immediate impact on the country became one of Life Magazine's most prized photo essays.
He documented the Spanish Civil War, the Chinese revolution, George VI's coronation and the story of Khrushchev's Russia. His subjects ranged from Che Guevara to Marilyn Monroe, while his magazine clients ran the gamut, including not just Life, but Harper's Bazaar, Vogue and many others.
|Paris. Pont des Arts. 1946. Jean-Paul Sartre, left, with architect Jean Pouillo
|Oceano Dunes, 1936
|Zabriskie Point, 1938
Eddie Adams (1933 - 2004) was born in New Kensington, Pennsylvania. His passion for photography started in the early years of his life. He became a member of the photography staff in his high school’s newspaper and after graduation; he joined the Marines as a combat photographer in Korea, which became his artistic fate.
Later, working for the Associated Press Adams covered the Vietnam war and shot one of the most popular combat images: the police chief General Nguyễn Ngọc Loan executing a Vietcong prisoner, Nguyễn Văn Lém, on a Saigon street, on February 1, 1968. With this photo Adams later won the Pulitzer Prize for Spot News Photography. Reflecting about the prize winning image, Adams noted for the Time Magazine that:
“[Two people died in this picture], The general killed the Viet Cong; I killed the general with my camera. Still photographs are the most powerful weapon in the world. People believe them; but photographs do lie, even without manipulation. They are only half-truths. … What the photograph didn’t say was, ‘What would you do if you were the general at that time and place on that hot day, and you caught the so-called bad guy after he blew away one, two or three American people?”
As many other combat photographers at that time, Adams identified himself as being someone looking for a story, not to change the world. In his later years, Adams turned his lens toward celebrities and politicians, taking portraits that graced fashion magazines, advertising campaigns and Parade Weekly. After so many years of seeing pain and hurt, he needed to take pictures that brought him hope and joy. He donated much of his time to charities, such as the Muscular Dystrophy Association, taking pictures for their fundraisers, telethons and awareness brochures. When he died of Lou Gehrig’s disease in 2004, a large portion of his estate went to support the work of these groups.
Horst Faas (1933 - 2012) was born in Berlin. Like all young German men growing up during the Second World War, he was obliged to join the Hitler Youth organisation. In the closing days of the war in 1945, the Faas family fled to avoid the Russian advance on Berlin and two years later made their way to Munich, where, during the post-war Allied occupation, Horst, aged only 15, played the drums with a black GI jazz band.
He began his career in Munich in 1951 at the Keystone photo agency, joining the Associated Press as a photographer in 1956. In 1960, when he was 27, Faas began his front-line reporting career in the Congo, then covered the conflict in Algeria. In 1962 he was reassigned to Vietnam. Faas left Saigon in 1970 to become AP’s roving photographer for Asia, based in Singapore. In 1972 Faas won a second Pulitzer Prize, with Michel Laurent, for his pictures of torture and executions in Bangladesh.
Faas was renowned for his bravery but also his organisational ability. He got so many good shots because he worked out where the action was likely to be. From an apprenticeship covering conflicts in the Congo and Algeria, he moved to Saigon in 1962. As head of AP's picture desk, he took pictures and trained others. Two of the most famous images of the Vietnam conflict – Nick Ut's shot of a girl fleeing a napalm attack and Eddie Adams' picture of the execution of a Viet Cong suspect – were both taken on his watch.
Partially crippled by a rocket propelled grenade in 1967, he went on to cover the war in Bangladesh, the seizure of Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics and to act as senior picture editor for AP in Europe. Shooting or editing, he was the hardest-nosed of professionals in an age when the photojournalist was the most dangerous job of all. In later life Faas organised reunions of the wartime Saigon press corps and ran international photojournalism symposiums. At one such event in Hanoi in 2005, he became ill and was flown to a hospital in Germany, where doctors diagnosed a spinal haemorrhage and told him he was permanently paralysed from the waist down.
In the words Michael Carlson:
He was the most important of all those who covered the Vietnam war, the modern crucible of photojournalism. This was not simply because of his pictures, for which he won a Pulitzer prize in 1965. They documented the war's effect on humanity: families huddled in fear in the midst of fighting soldiers; people mourning those already dead; a father confronting Vietnamese soldiers over the body of his son; the face of an American soldier staring emptily at the camera, his helmet decorated with the words: "War is hell." Faas's dictum was simple: "You can't photograph a flying bullet, but you can capture genuine fear."
|A South Vietnamese woman mourns over the body of her husband, found with 47 others in a mass grave near Hue, Vietnam.
|In this June 1965 photo, South Vietnamese civilians, among the few survivors of two days of heavy fighting, huddle together in the aftermath of an attack by government troops to retake the post at Dong Xoai, Vietnam. (AP Photo/Horst Faas)
Born in the resort village of Engelberg, Switzerland, Herbert Matter is best known for his international contributions in photography, photomontage, and graphic design. Matter was also a filmmaker, exhibition designer, and professor. He photographed a wide range of subjects in art, advertising, and fashion, and his constant experimentation led to refinements in composition, typography, and a variety of printing techniques. Matter initially studied painting at the Ëcole des Beaux-Arts in Geneva and then at the Académie Moderne in Paris as a student of Fernand Léger and Amédée Ozenfant. He came to the United States in 1936 and worked as a freelance photographer for Harper's Bazaar, Vogue, and the Museum of Modern Art in New York. He also created displays for the Swiss and Corning Glass Pavilions for the 1939 World's Fair. Over the course of his career,
Matter worked with Charles Eames, did photography, photomontage, and covers for Arts and Architecture magazine, and served as a design and advertising consultant for Knoll, where he created the company's award-winning graphics, layout, and photography. Additionally, Matter directed, filmed, and edited "Works of Calder" in 1950 for the Museum of Modern Art. This was the first color film to show Alexander Calder's sculptures. While maintaining these countless projects and assignments, Matter introduced the first photography classes offered at Yale University, where he taught until 1976. His most personal artistic endeavor was his extensive photography of sculptor Alberto Giacometti's work. These photographs from the 1960s and 1970s were published in his book Alberto Giacometti, which was published posthumously in 1987.
Werner Bischof was born in Zürich, Switzerland in April 1916. In 1926 his family moved to Waldshut, Germany. He began his career in Zürich as an advertising photographer. Unable to remain a passive observer, it was the destruction wreaked by World War II that led him into photojournalism, his mission taking him to India, Korea, Vietnam, Mexico, the United States and Peru.
He was the first new photographer to join the original Magnum founders in 1949. Focusing on the family and social life of traditional cultures, Bischof believed that reportage photography could raise awareness and thereby effect real change to bring about a better world. His his career was cut short by his untimely death, aged 38, in a car accident in the Andes.
Maurizio Galimberti ( 1956 - * ) was born in Como, Italy. He considers himself a painter who uses a camera.
I started exploring photography at 14 and up until I was 25 I worked with a reflex. At 26 I decided to abandon the dark room, because I could no longer stand the thought of being in the dark and dealing with acids that irritated my hands. But I couldn’t abandon photography. My only alternative was the Polaroid. Ever since then it has become like an extension of my body and mind. The more I grew culturally, the more my photographic tool matured with me, expanding my horizons.
Since the early 90s, Galimberti has worked exclusively with instant film from Polaroid. His amazing mosaics, sometimes consisting of up to 140 individual frames of film, have captured personalities including Johnny Depp, George Clooney, Julian Schnabel, Sofia Coppola, Wim Wenders, Monica Bellucci and Robert de Niro, among many, many others. He has also applied this mosaic technique to New York, Paris, London and Berlin, creating mathematical, yet entirely musical, portraits of the people and architecture of these cities.
|Moran Atias, 2006
They are mostly stories of encounters. The first occurred with the elaboration of the mosaic technique. Not long before I conceived it, artistic photography historian and critic Giuliana Scimè told me that if I could manage to combine my images with a form and an aesthetic, then I would be successful in my project. The second stems from a portrait I did in 1992 of artist Luigi Veronesi. He found my photos enveloping and contemporary: in them he saw elements of Futurism and flashes of Marcel Duchamp’s "Nude descending a staircase". He encouraged me to continue my research. The third happened when I met Dennis Curti in the early 90s, who is now one of the most important figures of Italian photography. Thanks to him I understood the importance of a rigorous gaze in each single shot. He opened up a world of stimuli that I funnelled into my first book "Viaggio in Italia", written between 1993 and 2001 and edited by Logos in 2003. But the moment of highest professional visibility took place in 2003, with my portrait of Johnny Depp for the Venice Film Festival, which became the cover of Time magazine.
Newsha Tavakolian (born 1981 in Tehran, Iran). A self-taught photographer, Newsha began working professionally in the Iranian press at the age of 16 at a women’s daily newspaper called Zan. At the age of 18, she was the youngest photographer to cover the 1999 student uprising, which was a turning point for the country’s blossoming reformist movement and for Newsha personally as a photojournalist; a year later she joined the New York based agency Polaris Images.
In 2002 she started working internationally, covering the war in Iraq for several months. She has since covered regional conflicts and natural disasters and has made social documentaries in Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Yemen. Her work is published in international magazines and newspapers such as Time Magazine, Newsweek, Stern, Le Figaro, Colors, The New York Times, Der Spiegel, Le Monde, NRC Handelsblad and The New York Times Magazine. Newsha Tavakolian won the Prince Claus Award in 2015. She donated part of a 100,000-euro (USD 112,000) Dutch award to charity, including Syrian and Iraqi refugees.