Lois Bielefeld grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She graduated in 2002 from Rochester Institute of Technology, receiving her BFA in Advertising Photography. Soon after she made the mass migration with all the other photo graduates to NYC where she lived for seven years. After assisting photographers she began shooting commercial and fashion work. In 2008 she started The Bedroom when she shared a bedroom for one year with her eight year old daughter in their small Brooklyn apartment. She is very close to completion of the 100 portrait series and aims to publish a book of all the work. In 2010 she relocated back to Milwaukee with her eleven year old daughter, partner, guinea pig and their cat. Besides photography, Lois loves to bike, cook, eat and dabble in Midwestern things like trap shooting.
Deborah recently shared the wonderful news that her first monograph is being published by Galerie Vevais and edited by William Ropp in October, and her first solo exhibition will open at The Theater by the Lake in Keswick in September. How did she make it happen? I decided to find out. Deborah’s interview follows.
I first wrote about your work two years ago, when I started to see
you images out in the world. So much has happened for you in those two
years, including a book to be published this fall, but let’s start at the
beginning. What brought you to photography?
album, but I think my passion for the photograph came through when researching for
a Ph.d in Women’s Holocaust writing.
It was here that I saw the power of the photograph & it’s place in
personal history & memory.
I gave up my Ph.d (was supposed to be a temporary measure) & enrolled on a
local photography course – which I did for a couple of years. From there I went to university to
study a part-time photography degree.
I took these courses as a way of breaking the monotony of changing
nappies & cleaning the home. I
loved having children but I needed to use my brain or do something creative
too. So the passion for the
photograph turned into a passion for photography with the birth of my children.
was only supposed to take up 12 hours a week of my life but because of my
nature, it became more like a 50 hour week. It was also an 80 mile round trip too & I needed to be
there at least 4 days a week. I
set up a darkroom at home & would work into the early hours of the morning
learning my craft – the children would come in & help – Fleur would
sometimes fall asleep almost at my feet. At university I studied all different genres of photography
from documentary, studio, street, historical processes & to the more
conceptual/staged photography. It
was great to have a go at all of these but it was here that I realized that I
wanted to concentrate on things closer to my heart & photograph my family
& things personal to me.
childhood memories – mainly about my feelings of my parents’ divorce & my
troubled time at school. However, Fleur
was becoming more unsettled at nursery & I knew she was starting school
within a year & I didn’t want history repeating itself. I wanted her settled & happy. So, I
decided to leave. My tutors were very understanding. They did try to persuade me to stay & said that I needed
to ease up on myself – don’t chase grades – but I knew that I would only ever
be happy if I put 100% into my work – I needed to find a balance. University was great as it allowed me
to learn so much, but leaving was also the best thing I did as I liberated me
& allowed me to follow my own path.
the photographer William Ropp and asked William to introduce us as he was
interested in buying some of my work. After that we became friends on Facebook and he saw
that I was making my own books. He
asked me if I would be interested in Galerie Vevais publishing my work (at this
point it was for the ‘September is the Cruellest Month’ series). The books I had been making had tipped
in prints & handwritten text – Alex wanted to create a similar book, with
the same intimacy (although so much better). It evolved from there.
It started as one book, Alex then included my ‘Stillness’ & ‘memory’ series into what has become the
Trilogy. Originally William Ropp
was to be the editor with Professor John Wood (poet & editor at 21st
Century) writing the essay. Then, Alex had another idea. He wanted to make a softcover version,
with a collection of my work that was more affordable to the public. William Ropp has kindly edited this
book & John Wood has now edited the Trilogy.
constraints…when do you make your work and how often?
I work with my family – although saying that, every minute of my day is full
& I am constantly trying to catch up.
I think it would be much more difficult if I was working on something
that outside of family life – like landscape or a documentary project for
example. Photography fits into my
family life & not the other way.
I also get up really early & have a wonderful husband who supports
me in everything I do.
brought to your work?
time in which those working with historical processes are criticized for hiding
behind the process. In other
words, creating weak work (whatever that is) and making it more interesting by the
process they use. However, I do
feel that working with wet plate collodion has made my work feel more intimate,
more personal (although I do feel that working with a large format camera also
adds to this). I love the
intimacy of the process. It is really
wonderful working with your hands, it becomes more than seeing with your eye or
feeling with your heart – I love
the tintypes as objects – I think it comes back to my love affair of the
you craft this object –the way you pour your chemistry all adds to the way the
final image will look. For
example, if you rush, or are nervous, under pressure (which you can easily feel
when working with children which requires you to stay calm & work
efficiently so that they relax and the plate doesn’t dry) this can be reflected
in the way you pour or develop or even focus your camera.
representation etc – things like that were for other people. I just wanted to be a good photographer
and leave something, a legacy for my children & maybe grandchildren. So ultimately I feel you need to work
hard, learn your craft & be passionate about your subject. Do it for yourself because not everyone
will like what you do & you can’t please everyone, so you must love doing
what you do. I have also found the
Internet to be an excellent way of sharing work & for being inspired by
other artists too.
the last two years?
time. Naturally, it’s a
rollercoaster ride but thankfully the positive has outweighed the
negative. During this time I have
been published in several magazines, both online & traditional print such
as Ag & Shots. I have also
been in several exhibitions in the U.S including at Gallery Carte Blanche in
San Francisco. And, as previously
mentioned I have had all my three series published by Galerie Vevais, which are
due to be released in October 2012. I even have an image on a cover of a Cd, which is lovely.
ways to present my work, such as Ethiopian bookbinding & more recently a
platinum/palladium, digital negatives. I have also helped assist Carl Radford
on wet plate workshops –who has been an amazing mentor to me.
online and off. I hope they know
who they are. These people have
supported, advised and encouraged me in ways that I could never have envisaged.
with a global photographic community?
blog. I just posted as a way of
sharing work with family & friends but this grew. Tom Chambers kindly
suggested that I should send in one of my images for the Lenscratch family
exhibition – which I did. I
remember he was so kind and actually came back and reminded me. Then, I was featured on Lenscratch and
the photographic community opened up enormously – especially in the U.S. Andy Adams of Flak has also been very
supportive of my work and again it has allowed me to connect to people I never
would have had the opportunity too living here in Hexham. It’s quite funny really because I can
walk into the school playground to pick up my daughter and hardly anyone knows
that I am a photographer & yet I correspond with lots of people from around
notice that you post your work on FB quite a lot–has that helped get the word
confidence to go around galleries with my work & to be honest, I wouldn’t
have the money to travel around the country or abroad or go to some of the
portfolio reviews on offer.
So the Internet has allowed me to be part of a community that would have
never otherwise happened. As a
mother of small children, I never would have had the time either to be
would have never come into contact with many people who have become my mentors
children. I am looking forward to
working with new children this summer (and my old friends too). I will always photograph my children –
or as long as they allow me and I want to start on platinum/palladium
printing. My Polaroid work is all
4×5 positives so would be lovely to convert them to a digital negative and print
them using this process – not sure how it will turn out but always need to be
learning something new. Other than
that, I have no idea. I will just
go with the flow in the way I always do.
And finally, what would be your perfect day?
of the lake district with my family & then sit by the lake in the evening
eating fish & chips & no-one else is around – it is so quiet and we are
so happy. Of course my camera is
perched on its’ tripod ready to capture this & the branch is found that
will hang out my Polaroid to dry.
Photojournalist Tomas Van Houtryve takes us behind the curtains of 21st century communism with seven years of photographs from China, Cuba, Laos, Moldova, Nepal, North Korea, and Vietnam. He presented this lecture and slideshow a few weeks ago at the Oslo Freedom Forum.
Images provided by the VII Photo Agency. carrera de fotografia .
Video courtesy www.OsloFreedomForum.com
Myriam Abdelaziz, 1976, is a French photographer of Egyptian origins and born in Cairo. Her career started in the marketing field in which she worked for seven years after having studied Political Science and Journalism. She decided to pursue a career in photography and graduated from the International Center of Photography in New York in 2006. Since then her work has been published in prestigious magazines as Newsweek, Time Magazine and Eyemazing. She is mainly working on documentary and portraiture stories in the Middle East and Africa. Her work often focuses on current matters as the hardships of the people from Darfur living in Egypt and the revolution in Egypt. She concentrated on the horrific effects of the Rwandan genocide on its survivors who were merely children at the time they were mutilated. She heard the upsetting stories of the victims but was equally shocked by the lack of response from the world community as they are still not getting surgery or psychiatric help. The following images come from the series Egyptian Revolt, Portrait of a Genocide and Darfuris in Cairo.
Cathleen Naundorf, 1968, Germany, is a fashion and fine-art photographer. Her career started as a photo assistant in New York, Singapore and Paris. In 1993 she started traveling to countries as Mongolia, Siberia and Brazil. The pictures made over the years had been published in eight publications of large publishers. In 1997 she started photographing for the Süddeutsche Zeitung with a fashion page of her own. Seven years ago she visited Jean-Paul Gaultier to ask him to lend one or two dresses to photograph. He was so impressed by the work that he gave her access to his entire collection. Since then she has been shooting for Gaultier, Dior, Lacroix, Chanel, Elle Saab and Valentino. She exclusively works on large format camera’s (4×5″ and 8×10″) using polaroid films. She is also granted free choice of models, locations and hair and make-up designers. A publication of her haute couture series is scheduled in 2012. Her work has been exhibited at several venues in Europe and the USA. The following images come from her portfolio’s Fashion – B&W, Fashion – Color and Vs- Magazine – 2011.
Maybe it’s because San Francisco photographer, Jack Simon, has worked as a psychiatrist for the last four decades that he is able to create work that is layered, complex, and interesting, or perhaps, it’s because he has spent the past seven years working as a street photographer, looking at humorous moments and odd juxtapositions, that he is able to make photographs that add up to something unexpected. His project, Strange Days, causes us to peel back the layers and explore new photographic realities.
This year a series of Jack’s photographs was shown at the International Format Festival in England, in addition he was a co-winner of the Street Photography Now Project and is currently competing as a finalist in the Xperia Studio Reality Remade competition, organized by Street Reverb Magazine. Jack is a member of the Burn My Eye Photo Collective, an international collective aiming to show the extraordinary within the ordinary using candid photography.
I am most interested in finding complex, colorful images, that transcend the documentary specifics of the moment and hopefully evoke stories in the minds of my viewers. My approach is to photograph without a specific theme or idea in mind. When I look back at the photographs I’ve taken certain groupings appear to me like missing pages from the same story, blown across time to different corners of the world. Without telling the full story, I’ve tried to put some of these images back together in portfolios. ‘Strange Days’ like the film I named the portfolio after, is one of these fragmented stories, a puzzle with plenty of missing pieces.
Stefan Milev, 1981, Bulgaria, is a very productive fashion and fine-art photographer based in Paris, France. He spend seven years assisting major photographers around the globe and worked as a photographer in New York for a period of three years. He wants his images to resemble paintings and includes a sense of mystery and beauty, trying to capture emotion, mystic and soul. He wants the photographs to be simple and unique. He is heavily inspired by the great photographers of the 19th and 20th century as Alvin Langdon Coburn, George Seeley, Peter Lindbergh, Irving Penn and Helmut Newton. His images have appeared in magazines and publications as Tranoï Magazine, DERZEIT Magazine and Qvest. The following images come from various different shoots.
Sebastian Kim, 1974, USA, is a fashion / editorial photographer based in New York City. He was born in Vietnam, raised in Iran, France and the USA. He started his career assisting Richard Avedon for four years and then moved on to assist Steven Meisel for another seven years. The lessons he learned while assisting both photography legends laid the basis for his current work. His work has appeared in numerous magazines, from Numéro to GQ Style and from Vogue to V Man. Amongst his clients are Calvin Klein, L’Oreal and Nina Ricci. The following images come from his portfolios Womens, Mens and Portraits.