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A tribute to: Lauren E. Simonutti (1968-2012)

Lauren E. Simonutti, 1968, USA, passed away last week due to complications from her illness. On March 28th, 2006 she started hearing voices and was diagnosed with “rapid cycling, mixed state bipolar with schizoaffective disorder”. She felt she was going mad and spent her last years almost in isolation. She turned the camera on herself and the space she was living in. She has left us with an impressive, honest and strong body of work. With her photographs she gave a voice to those that suffer in isolation.
“Over (five) years I have spent alone amidst these 8 rooms, 7 mirrors, 6 clocks, 2 minds and 199 panes of glass. And this is what I saw here. This is what I learned. I figure it could go one of two ways – I will either capture my ascension from madness to as much a level of sanity for which one of my composition could hope, or I will leave a document of it all, in the case that I should lose.” – Lauren E. Simonutti
The following images come from the series The Devil’s Alphabet and 8 Rooms, 7 Mirrors, 6 Clocks, 2 Minds & 199 Panes of Glass.

Website: www.edelmangallery.com & www.lauren-rabbit.blogspot.com

Photographer #434: Peter Hapak

Peter Hapak, 1973, Hungary, is a versatile photographer based in the US. He works for commercial and editorial clients, but his main focus lies on portraiture and the human body. For Time Magazine he has created impressive series, of which the latest is called The Protester. Time had named the Protester as person of the year 2011 and commisioned Hapak to travel to seven different countries to portray the protesters. In countries as Egypt, Spain, Greece and Tunesia he set up a makeshift studio in hotel rooms, anarchist headquarters and even in a temple in India. Peter also asked the portrayed to bring mementos of protest. Amongst the objects brought were Iphones, rubber pellets and Maalox, a substance used to counter the effects of tear gas. Another story he focused on were the Chilean miners that were trapped in  2010 which resulted in a strong series of black and white portraits. Peter has photographed a vast amount of celebrities as Robin Williams, Bono and Colin Firth. The following images come from the series The Protester, The Art of War: Honoring the Fallen for a Lifetime and Finding the Chilean Miners.

Website: www.phapak.netlightbox.time.com

Photographer #430: Rinko Kawauchi

Rinko Kawauchi, 1972, Japan, is a fine art photographer based in Tokyo. She studied at the Seian University of Art and Design and graduated in 1993. She started as a photographer on a freelance basis from 1997. In 2001 she launched herself into the photographic world with the simultaneous release of 3 books, UTATANE, HANABI and HANAKO. Since then she has released a large number of monographs of which the latest addition is Illuminance. Her images seem simple, but they evoke primal emotions within the viewer. By paying attention to tiny gestures and incidental details within her environment she finds the extraordinary within the mundane. The editing within her books is crucial to her work and the stories she wishes to tell. The photographs show a large range of emotions and fundamentally adresses life itself, from the good all the way to the bad. Her work has been exhibited extensively in solo and group shows around the world and is in several public collections as the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Phtography and Huis Marseille in Amsterdam. The following images come from the books Illuminance, AILA and Cui Cui.

Website: www.foiltokyo.com & www.rinkokawauchi.com

Photographer #428: Eric T. White

Eric T. White, 1982, USA, is a photographer based in New York City. When he started art school he did not have a clear idea what he should study. When Eric’s uncle died he inherited all of his cameras. This lead him to professionally persue a career in photography. He spent four years learning from photographer Christopher Griffith’s technical expertise as his first assistant. His primary focus lies on portraiture and landscape photography. He describes his work as being “about capturing fleeting moments… specific moods and feelings.” For his series National Defense, which consists of two chapters, he documented a fake arabic town in California and the border between the US and Mexico. Currently he is simultaneously working on a portrait series based on the Lower East Side, a black and white landscape series and his first book. The following images come from the series Least Likely To, Lake Harmony and National Defense.

Website: www.mrwhite.cowww.whiteblackwhite.com

Photographer #426: Chen Wei

Chen Wei, 1980, is a Chinese fine-art and conceptual photographer based in Beijing. He builds large installations to photograph. His narrative images show bizarre spaces, scenes and objects that leave the viewer wondering. Chen uses his personal memories, childhood fantasies and combines this with realities found in modern China. He assembles all the required objects in his studio and starts building his scenes. “Chen Wei illustrates an intricate imagination fascinated with the eccentric and fanciful pursuits of early science, mathematics, alchemy, philosophers and madmen.” (M97 Gallery) His work has been shown in several solo exhibitions and in a vast number of group exhibitions throughout the world. The following images come from the series Everyday, Scenery and Props, House of Recovery and The Augur’s Game.

Website: www.chen-wei.orgwww.m97gallery.com

Photographer #420: Joël Tettamanti

Joël Tettamanti, 1977, Switzerland, is a photographer who travels to remote places around the world for his photographic art. His work is a mixture of documentary, architectural, landscape and travel photography. He has traveled to places as Togo, Kuweit, Japan, Azerbaijan, India and Greenland. His photographs are a reflection of a traveling observer who sees ordinary objects, landscapes and buildings that others would pass without noticing. In his images the ordinary becomes the extraordinary and tell the story of man and its environment. In 2006 Joël released the book Local Studies in which his work from various series is combined with texts of 6 different authors. He studied graphic design and photography at the Ecole Cantonale d’Art de Lausanne. Since 2009 he is also a photography teacher at ECAL. His work has been exhibited extensively, mainly in Switzerland and France. The following images come from the series Ayome, Qaqortoq and Harajuku.

Website: www.tettamanti.chwww.tettamanti.li

Photographer #417: Ulrich Lebeuf

Ulrich Lebeuf, 1972, France, is a photojournalist and documentary photographer. He has worked on numerous stories for the French and international press. Next to his photojournalistic work he is interested in themes of popular culture, representation, consumption and the notion of immediate pleasure. The series Antonyme de la pudeur takes a look at the sex industry. It is a glimpse into a world in which Ulrich manages to humanize the actresses, making the viewer reflect on the stereotypes of the business and on our own moral judgments. His work has been published in newspapers and magazines as Le Monde, Libération, Time and National Geographic. His photographs have been shown at several venues as the opening of the Rencontres d’Arles festival in 2006. He is a member of the M.Y.O.P agency. The following images come from the series Antonyme de la pudeur, Tropique du Cancer and Alaska Highway.

Website: www.ulrichlebeuf.fr & www.myop.fr

Photographer #401: iO Tillett Wright

iO Tillett Wright, 1985, USA, is a young photographer based in New York City. She is currently working on the project entitled Self Evident Truths. The project started as part of an exhibition called Manifest Equality. She shot 300 portraits of people who felt that the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or questioning (LGBTQ) desciption applied to them. These portraits were laid in stacks for visitors to take home for free. Currently she is working on another 4000-5000 portraits that will be shot in 25 different cities throughout US. For the portraits in New York she was supported by the Human Rights Campaign. “This is the civil rights fight of my generation, and this project won’t be complete until queer people have the same rights as every other human being in this country.” All of her projects and images contain something pure, genuine, intimate and in close contact with the reality of life. In 2010 she released the book Lose My Number in a limited edition and recently KISSER came out. iO has been published in numerous magazines as The New York Times Magazine, Vice and The Huffington Post. The following images come from the project Self Evident Truths and the books Lose My Number and KISSER.

Website: www.darlingdays.com & www.selfevidentproject.com