Tag Archives: Portraiture

In Memoriam: Photographers Who Died in 2012

In the universe of serious, meaningful photography, the chance to honor the lives and careers of peers, colleagues and, occasionally, heroes in an end-of-year “those we lost” tribute comes with a grim, one-time-only satisfaction: namely, the opportunity to see, in one place, the work of photographers who would otherwise never, ever be shown together.

Like politics, death can sometimes make for strange bedfellows.

Where else would, say, Cornel Lucas’ glamorous Hollywood portraits feel so right alongside LIFE staffer Lee Balterman’s edgy depictions of Sixties’ unrest? In what other context would a black-and-white image of Nehru by India’s first woman photojournalist, Homai Vyarawalla (a.k.a, “Dalda 13″), not seem out of place beside Jim McCrary’s famous 1971 Tapestry portrait of Carole King?

Of course, it’s hardly just the variety of photographers we lost in 2012 that’s so striking, but the cumulative power and excellence of their work.

Dody Weston Thompson, for example, who died in October at 89, not only worked as an assistant with titans like Edward Weston and Ansel Adams, but collaborated for years with her husband, Brett Weston. Over a five-plus-decade career, from the 1940s into the early 2000s, she forged friendships with many of the signature artists of the century (Minor White, Imogen Cunningham, Georgia O’Keeffe and others) while always doggedly — and joyfully — pursuing her own creative vision.

Another formidable woman, Eve Arnold, died early in 2012 at the age of 99. The Philadelphia native joined Magnum in 1957 and for decades produced indelible portraits of celebrities (Marlene Dietrich, Marilyn Monroe), political and cultural figures (Malcolm X, Jackie Kennedy, James Cagney) and the disenfranchised (migrant workers, prostitutes). Named a “Master of Photography” by ICP in 1995, Arnold lived in England until her death in January.

On staff at LIFE for 24 years, Michael Rougier was, according to magazine lore, the only unknown photographer who ever walked into the LIFE offices and was hired then and there. (He had smuggled pictures of a then-camera shy Eva Peron out of Argentina.) Rougier — who has a peak in Antarctica named after him; he tumbled down its side while on assignment for LIFE in the 1960s — died in January at the age of 86. Another LIFE photographer, Lee Balterman, whose work chronicled some of the signature events of the roiling Sixties (the ’68 Chicago convention, the Detroit riots) as well as the beauty and rigor of the arts, died in January at age 91. Ken Regan, who died in late November (nobody seems to have known his real age), made striking portraits of most of the biggest names of the 1960s and ’70s, including Dylan, the Stones, Hendrix and Muhammad Ali.

Prize-winning combat photographer Horst Faas, whose work across almost a half-century with the Associated Press helped redefine what war photography could (and perhaps should) look like, died in May. He was 79. In February, another award-winning war photographer, Rémi Ochlik, was killed by Syrian artillery fire while covering the siege of Homs in that country’s civil war. Ochlik, a World Press Photo honoree in 2012, was just 28.

The man who won both the Pulitzer Prize and the World Press Photo of the Year in 1963 for his image of a self-immolating monk in Saigon, Malcolm Browne, died in May at 81.

( Read Patrick Witty’s interview with Browne, “Behind the Burning Monk.” )

More than a few fine-art photographers passed away in 2012. Among them: New Jersey native Jan Groover, whose work has been shown at MoMa in New York, the Cleveland Museum of Art, ICP, the Corcoran Gallery and many other places; the self-taught, Kolkata-born Prabuddha Dasgupta, whose fashion work spanned more than three decades; and Arnaud Maggs, whose conceptual work — and especially his portraits of famous subjects, presented in grid-like formats — earned him acclaim in his native Canada and internationally.

Martine Franck, who died of cancer in Paris at 74, was a Magnum photographer for more than three decades who began her career in the early 1960s, assisting the great LIFE photographers Eliot Elisofon and Gjon Mili. Magnum’s president, Alex Majoli, eulogized his friend and colleague with the simple and moving observation that the agency had “lost a point of reference, a lighthouse, and one of our most influential and beloved members.”

In September, Pedro Guerrero died in Arizona at the age of 95. For five decades in the middle part of the 20th century, Guerrero (an art school dropout) worked closely with Frank Lloyd Wright, chronicling the architect’s projects in photographs.

French-born Michelle Vignes, who co-founded the International Fund for Photography and Fotovision, worked as a photo editor in the early days at Magnum and was among the most important chroniclers of the pivotal social movements of the 1960s and ’70s (the American Indian Movement’s occupation of Wounded Knee; the Black Panthers; Vietnam War protests), died in October at 86.

Richard Gordon, whose pictures are in the permanent collections of the Library of Congress, SFMOMA, the Getty Museum, the Corcoran Gallery and other major institutions, died in October in Berkley, Calif., at 67.

Chilean street-photographer Sergio Larrain, who was invited by Cartier-Bresson to join Magnum in the late ’50s, but abandoned his camera in the early 1970s in order to pursue what became an increasingly solitary spiritual quest, died in February at the age of 80. Another Latin American photographer, the Argentine Horacio Coppola, who was documenting his native Buenos Aires as early as the 1930s, died in June at 105.

Walt Zeboski, who covered four California governors and other political power players in the state, as well as Ronald Reagan’s 1980 presidential campaign for the Associated Press, died on November 12. He was 83.

Yasuhiro Ishimoto, a Japanese-American who first learned photography while interned at Colorado’s Amache Internment Camp during World War II, died in February at 90. A key figure in the post-war movement (across all of the arts) that saw Eastern and Western sensibilities melding and, occasionally, clashing to such vivid effect, Ishimoto won numerous awards — including the Moholy-Nagy twice.

A photographer whose fashion work was published primarily in Harper’s Bazaar in the 1950s and ’60s and who was still working into her 90s — using contemporary digital technologies to manipulate her images — Lillian Bassman died in February at the age of 94.

Known primarily for an iconic image of Beat-era legends Michael McClure, Allen Ginsberg and others outside City Lights bookstore in San Francisco in December 1965 — made when he was just 22 — Bay Area native Larry Keenan worked as a photographer for the next four decades. He was an accomplished commercial photographer, but also made a point of continuing to shoot the counterculture as it evolved from the ’60s into the 21st century.

Wilhelm Brasse, a Pole and a prisoner at Auschwitz during the Second World War, was a professional photographer forced by the SS to document everything from the work performed by fellow inmates to the horrific medical experiments conducted by Nazi doctors at the notorious concentration camp.

Paula Lerner was just 52 years old when she died in March from cancer. Lerner, who often worked on commercial assignments to help finance the photojournalism projects that were her passion, was the principal photographer for Behind the Veil, about the lives of women and girls in contemporary Afghanistan.

In a career spanning 50 years, South Africa’s Alf Kumalo tirelessly (and artfully) chronicled the abuses of apartheid. He died in October at 82.

Known primarily for her pictures documenting the women’s movement of the 1970s and its high-profile leaders (Steinem, Friedan, Abzug), Bettye Lane also covered other people and events of the fraught era, including antiwar rallies and the stirrings of the modern environmental movement. She died in Manhattan in September at 82.

Architectural photographer Susan Carr died in early September in Chicago. A leader of the education programs at the American Society of Media Photographers, Carr was 49.

Robert McElroy died on February 22 in White Plains, New York. A photographer for Newsweek for almost 20 years, he was best-known for his pictures of the vibrant art “happenings” of the 1950s and early ’60s.

Stan Stearns — whose portrait of 3-year-old John F. Kennedy Jr. saluting his father’s coffin in 1963 poignantly distilled a nation’s grief — died of lung cancer in March. He was 76.

Juan Antonio Serrano, a documentary photographer and brother of the Ecuadorian Interior Minister, Jose Serrano, was stabbed to death in the city of Cuenca in southern Ecuador. The murder was, evidently, not associated with his photography work. Serrano was 34.

Guest Blogger 3 – Join Hotshoe Blog’s conversation On the Move: Mobile Photography at World Photo Organisation

TheGreatEscapeJanineGraf

The Great Escape © Janine Graf

Ansel Adams said it best: “There is nothing worse than a sharp image of a fuzzy concept”. Janine Graf from interview

EXCERPT FROM WPO BLOG:

Welcome back to my fourth post leading up until Christmas. Today I turn to the world of mobile photography with the help of Joanne Carter from The App Whisperer to find out more. What’s clear is that mobile photography is here to stay; it’s fun, there’s a growing community of like-minded people getting involved and it allows people to shoot and edit on the go, giving them greater freedom than using a DSLR.

untitled2

(L-R) Joanne Carter and Miranda Gavin Hotshoe Blog at the mObilepixatiOn show. Image by Dilshad Corleone (Columnist for theappwhisperer.com)

Before this, there are two things to mention. The Sony World Photography Awards, which is judged in late January, is viewed on screen and it makes no difference what type of equipment is used to produce submitted photographs. However, the competition asks photographers to note the cameras used in their submissions. One of 2011’s finalists, Balazs Gardi followed Afghani troops and edited his work with hipstamatic. I’m trying to get stats as to how many submissions are produced on mobile devices as I would like to monitor this in relation to international photo competitions. Also, I have a suggestion for the Sony World Photography Awards. What about adding a Mobile Photography category to next year’s awards?

Secondly, as it’s the lead up to Christmas, here at Hotshoe magazine we’re offering one person a year’s subscription to the magazine, plus a free copy of the Oct/Nov 2012 edition of the magazine sent to your home. All you have to do is go to the Hotshoe International Facebook page and LIKE the magazine by the end of the week. That’s it. The team at Hotshoe will select a winner at random from those ‘liking’ the page this week and I will announce the lucky winner next week on this blog. Happy Christmas.

To read interviews with some of the key players in the world pof mobile photography and photo art click on this link On the Move – Mobile Photography, to the rest of the post. You won’t be disappointed, there are some very interesting points made by the interviewees.

Filed under: Mobile Photo Art, Mobile Photography, Photographers, Portraiture, street photography, Visual Artists, Women Photographers Tagged: Janine Graf, Joanne Carter, Miranda Gavin, Mobile photo art, Mobile Photography, mobilepixation, The App Whisperer

Behind the Cover: Photographing Super Mario

Like many famous athletes, Italian soccer player Mario Balotelli has developed a reputation for outlandish behavior. But photographer Levon Biss was not worried during his recent TIME International cover shoot with the star, who is currently playing for the British football club Manchester City.

(Read More: Mario Balotelli: The Infamously Mercurial Brilliance of the Soccer Star)

“His personality is very shy, actually,” said Biss. “He wears outrageous clothes and sometimes on the football pitch he does outrageous things, but as a person he is not outrageous, he is very, very shy.”

The shoot did get off to a slightly rocky start when Balotelli arrived at the studio Biss had set up at Manchester City’s training grounds. “He walked in and there were 12 or 13 people in there,” Biss explained. “I think he got quite nervous and walked straight back out again. We had to wait another half-hour for him to come back.”

Despite the delay, the shoot eventually went off without a hitch. To compensate for Balotelli’s discomfort, Biss focused on stylized portraits, rather than action shots. “He looks quite interesting, so you don’t need to do much with him,” said Biss. “He’s got quite a brooding character, so we tried to enhance that with a bit of red lighting and keep the images quite graphic.”

This is not an unusual approach when photographing athletes, who unlike actors and other celebrities, said Biss, are not used to performing for the camera. “These are sports people,” he said. “You have to hinge on what you can do photographically instead of relying on them to come through with a shining personality.”

Biss makes sure to work fast and use a straightforward, no nonsense approach, similar to what his subjects would encounter on the field. Most importantly, Biss, said is keeping the sessions short and sweet.

“They want to be out of there,” said Biss. “If you can get on their side by saying ‘look we’ve got an hour but we can do this in half an hour,’ you are automatically their friend and they will give you what you want straight away.”

Levon Biss is a London-based photographer and regular contributor to TIME.

The Men Behind Lincoln: Daniel Day-Lewis and Steven Spielberg by Marco Grob

Ever the director, Steven Spielberg was already thinking about the next shoot at his portrait sitting with Marco Grob for this week’s issue of TIME. Spielberg was curious about the photographer’s plans to photograph Daniel Day Lewis, who plays the 16th president in the director’s forthcoming Lincoln, later in the day. His schedule was free—so Spielberg offered to come back and help Grob with the shoot. “Spielberg is an icon, and to have him shoulder to shoulder with me as I shot was quite amazing,” Grob says. “He ended up directing Daniel’s gazes and poses, and talking to him during the shoot to create a really casual atmosphere.” Spielberg limited his creative input to Lewis, though, even at Grob’s insistence that he review shots, which ultimately suited the photographer’s nerves just fine. “To have a very famous voice in your ear, at your shoulder, as you shoot could be quite stressful, to put it mildly,” Grob says. “But this was obviously an incredibly fun and memorable experience.”

Marco Grob is a contract photographer for TIME. View more of his work for TIME here or on his website.

Raskols: Stephen Dupont’s Portraits of Papua New Guinea Gangsters

From the panoramic mountain vistas to the jungles and the beaches, Papua New Guinea—the largest tropical island in the world—is a naturally blessed and beautiful land. But a peaceful land it is not.

A country of high unemployment, poor education and widespread corruption, Papua New Guinea is rife with ethnic conflict and infested with criminal gangs, known as ‘raskols,’ (the indigenous Tok Pisin word for criminals) that trade in guns, drugs intimidation and violence.

Papua New Guinea’s capital, Port Moresby, is regularly cited among the world’s five worst cities to live in. In 2004, an Economist survey ranked Port Moresby the most unlivable city on earth.

As a photographer who has covered stories of conflict the world over—from the conflicts in Afghanistan, Angola and Somalia to the genocide in Rwanda and East Timor’s struggle for independence—Stephen Dupont was drawn to document Papua New Guinea’s troubling story.

His new book Raskols: The Gangs of Papua New Guinea, published by powerHouse Books this month, showcases an essay of portraits that he shot in the country he has visited frequently over the last eight years.

Dupont traveled from neighboring Australia to investigate the lawless landscape of tribal divisions in Papua New Guinea with an intention to document the ‘Raskols’ that dominate the area. He first encountered the ‘Kips Kaboni’ or ‘Scar Devils’ gang in the midst of a tribal conflict. The night before, a highlander had killed a Motu woman by throwing a metal spear through her neck. A general revenge rampage against all highlanders had followed and their shops and properties were burnt down.

“The entire settlement was tense and the Motu people were waiting for the Highlanders to fight back,” Dupont said. “I met Alan Omara, the ‘Kips Kaboni’ gang leader who was orchestrating his boys to arm themselves and protect the Motu community. (With) home made guns, machetes, axes bows and arrows—the community was ready.”

Over the days that followed, Dupont covered the events as they unfolded. By the time things had calmed down, he had gotten to know Omara and his gang and had earned their trust and respect. Dupont asked if he could make a series of portraits of the young men and boys.

“I chose to photograph them in very simple approach allowing each subject to project their own individual image,”said Dupont. “Each character was strong in their own way, and I wanted to capture something in their face, their eyes and their body language. My aim was to show the face behind the facelessness of gang culture really. An expose of a dark side of the human condition.”

Over many weeks and several trips in 2004, Dupont would meet the raskols inside their safe-house and shoot portraits with his Polaroid land camera and Polaroid 665 positive-negative film.

Working in the late afternoons when the light was best he asked his subjects to stand in front of the camera, posing with their weapons of choice which included menacing homemade guns. “At times they pointed the guns in my direction or made other ego-encouraged gestures of gang culture body language,” said Dupont. “I gave them very little direction and then picked my moments to shoot.”

Dupont’s disturbing and powerful polaroids of latter-day outlaws are fittingly reminiscent of the wild west era daguerreotype portraits of more than a century ago.

In 2011, Dupont went back and tracked down the raskols. “I found out that many were no longer criminals or in the gang. Some had taken jobs as security workers, or building laborers,” said Dupont. However, not all their stories had positive ends. “Others had died of sickness, were murdered or are in jail.”

Raskols was one of Dupont’s first forays into portraiture-based essays. The series has since led him to make other significant portrait projects including work in Afghanistan and India. His experiences in Papua New Guinea also inspired Dupont to cover stories there regularly, which culminated in a  2011 project about Papua New Guinea society and de-tribalization for Harvard’s Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology as the recipient of the Robert Gardner Fellowship of Photography.

Stephen Dupont is a Sydney-based photographer. See more of his work here.

Raskols: The Gangs of Papua New Guinea was recently released by powerHouse Books.

 

Sylvain Granjon

Sylvain Granjon has just opened an exhibition at Galeria Tagomago that will travel to both gallery locations in Barcelona and Paris. The exhibit runs throught October 20th in Barcelona and moves to Paris from November 15th-18th.

Sylvain is a French artist who comes from the world of the circus and entertainment. After more than 20 years performing across the world in a number of street theater festivals, Sylvain now creates his magic with a camera, specializing in portraits and constructed realities. I am featuring a series of his daughter, Douce Amère, that is simply charming in it’s exploration of portraiture, humor, and appreciation for childish things.

DOUCE AMÈRE

I come from the entertainment world. I have been an entertainer for 20 years. I would say I’m an eccentric more than a clown.

This artificial world has been mine for all that time.
When I photograph my daughter, I photograph myself.
Her direct look has shaken my adult certainties. What I see in her eyes challenges me, as a grown child, as a father…
She seems to be asking me : “What have you become?”
When I portray my daughter there is a seriousness at odds 
with her young age.
I try to evoke the adult’s desperate quest for the mythical image of his own childhood; the source of all our emotions.
Sylvain Granjon, 2012

Sailboats and Swans: The Prisons of Russia and Ukraine

What does prison look like?

In her latest body of work,  Sailboats and Swans, Israeli photographer Michal Chelbin challenges viewers to re-imagine the answer to this question. Working with her husband and co-producer, Oded Plotnizki, Chelbin spent three years photographing prisons in Ukraine and Russia from 2008 to 2010.

The pair used a network of connections, built over the 10 years they have worked in the region, to gain incredibly rare access to these facilities. What they found inside surprised them. Instead of grey concrete and steel, there were tropical wallpapers, lace-covered tables and furniture painted in glossy blues and greens. The prisoners in Chelbin’s photographs are not dressed in orange jumpsuits, but the floral housedresses, cloth jackets and rubber sandals common to village life in the region. Religious icons seem as ubiquitous as tattoos.

With only one day to work in each location, Chelbin and Plotnizki carefully explored these strange environments, quietly combing halls and common areas to find subjects for their portraits.

“It’s something I look for in their faces, their gaze,” Chelbin said, adding that it was intuition, rather than any specific characteristics, that guided their choices. “It’s not a formula. Some people have this quality that you can’t take them out of your head,” Plotnizki added.

The mood in each location varied widely. Chelbin and Plotnizki described the tense atmosphere of a young boys’ facility as a “living hell, ” while the residents of a men’s prison “were like zombies.”

But it was a prison for women and children in Ukraine that made the greatest emotional impact on Chelbin, who herself had two young children at the time of the shoot. In one frame from that facility, a nursery attendant dressed in white is pictured leaning on the corner of an oversized crib. Inside, toddlers play with rubber balls that mirror the bright, primary colors of a mural painted on wall behind them (slide #7).

The tired, distant expression of the attendant, whose name is Vika, is the only clue that this isn’t a happy scene. The children, we learn from Chelbin, were born in prison and have never known the outside world. Vika herself is a prisoner–charged with murder. She is also a mother, but cannot visit her own child who has been placed in an orphanage.

Chelbin chose not to ask each prisoner about their crimes until after their portrait sessions. Likewise, in the soon-to-be-released book of this work, captions containing the names and criminal charges of each prisoner are left to the last pages. In this way, viewers do not immediately know that a pair of sisters in matching dresses are in custody for violence and theft, or that a young man, reclining on a green iron bed, has been charged with murder.

There are a huge variety of faces in these portraits. There are young girls with pale, delicate skin and older women whose features are made severe with heavy makeup. There are boys so small they look more suited to grade school than prison and men whose scars indicate years of hard living. In all of them, though, there is a sense of dignity.

“I want people to look at the book and see themselves,” said Chelbin. “The circumstances of life could have brought anyone to this place.”

Michal Chelbin is an Israel-based photographer. See more of her work here

Chelbin’s latest body of work, Sailboats and Swans, will be released on Nov. 1 by Twin Palms Publishers. An exhibition of the work will be on display at the Andrea Meislin Gallery in New York City from Oct. 18 to Dec. 22

Photo Show – First major UK exhibition of work by Tom Wood to open at The Photographers’ Gallery London

© Tom Wood, Seacombe Ferry 1985, photo courtesy the artist and The Photographers’ Gallery.

© Tom Wood, Ladies Toilet Attendant 1985, photo courtesy the artist and The Photographers’ Gallery.

The first major UK show of Irish-born photographer Tom Wood Men and Women opens at The Photographers’ Gallery on 12 October and runs until 6 January. Wood continuously recorded the everyday lives of the people of Liverpool and the Merseyside area from 1973 until the early 2000s, working in both black and white and later in colour. The exhibition will showcase over sixty previously unpublished portraits as well as a selection of vintage prints and book dummies of his now out-of-print publications Looking for Love (1989), All Zones off Peak (1998) and Photieman (2005).

“Editing from long-term and previously unseen bodies of work, such as the Football Grounds, Shipyard and Docks and Women’s Market, Tom Wood has re-evaluated these images through a creative collaboration with artist Padraig Timoney. Grouping the images in a non-chronological order under the headings Men and Women, the exhibition will showcase a curated selection of these photographs,soon to be published as two separate books by Steidl. The installation of the photographs will reflect the sequencing of the books mixing the different formats, styles and processes. This arrangement will highlight the formal correspondences and relationships between pictures as well as Wood’s prolonged involvement with his subject matter.

“His photographs include both candid and posed portraits of people alone or in groups. Images of strangers are interspersed with those of friends and family and are often made from repeated engagements with particular locales.

© Tom Wood, Maryhill 1974, photo courtesy the artist and The Photographers’ Gallery.

“Trust and empathy are both key elements in Wood’s practice and his photographs are the result of considered observation, offering affirmative responses to moments from the lives of those he pictures.” From the press release.

© Tom Wood, Old Man on bench, Graffiti tiles 1985, photo courtesy the artist and The Photographers’ Gallery.

Men and Women is a collaboration with the National Media Museum, Bradford. It is curated by Stefanie Braun, Senior Curator, The Photographers’ Gallery and Greg Hobson, Curator of Photographs at the National Media Museum.

Filed under: Documentary photography, Photographers, Photography Shows, Portraiture Tagged: documentary photography, Liverpool, london, Men and Women, Merseyside, Padraig Timoney, The Photographers’ Gallery, Tom Wood