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Timothy Hogan – Commercial Photography, or When Art and Commerce Collide

timothy hogan about

Timothy Hogan is an American award-winning still life photographer and Hasselblad brand ambassador.

timothy hogan fine art photographer

He works in his photo studio named “Convyr“ in Los Angeles, USA, where he shoots for various advertising campaigns and creates exclusive photo projects.

Background

Timothy Hogan was born in Santa Monica, California. He studied photography at Syracuse University and was graduated in 1998.

After graduation, he spent 12 years in New York, but since 2011 he returned to California.

When growing up, Timothy was always curious about creating things and understand different materials, so that curiosity is still very much a part of his mindset today, which led him to do what he is doing now.  Experimentation is undeniably a very big part of his workflow.

timothy hogan

Still life photography (not so still)

Timothy’s main type of photography is to shoot still life. Since he often photographs for commercials specifically, he aims to create an attractive appearance of the brand by using a compound of light and nature elements like water or fire.

timothy hogan photo

He describes himself as an observer, who analyses various nature’s material, its conditions and shapes, thinking about how he could use them to create exclusive, but a brand-related atmosphere.

One of the most popular materials Hogan uses in his photoshoots is water. He shot various cosmetics or alcohol drink pictures by using water splashes and drops.

That looks like a powerful but also playful way at the same time to create a lively atmosphere in the picture, which makes the brand look very aesthetically attractive to the viewer.

timothy hogan photograph

Other common materials Hogan uses for his still life shots are fire and sparks. These elements add some spiciness to products like alcohol drinks or fragrances and intrigues to taste or smell them.

You can also find his product shoots surrounded by various types of smokes’ compositions. It creates a mystical appearance for the brand and smoke itself looks quite intriguing.

Timothy’s work is a great example of how to present a different type of product of combining them with simple natural materials as water, fire or smoke.

During his career as a photographer, he already created commercials for well-known brands as Tommy Hilfiger, Nike, Chanel, Visa or Smirnoff.

Timothy Hogan is featured in our feature article about the most influential photographers here

Importance of colors

Most of the time Hogan works in color photography. While shooting for different kinds of brands, bright colors are important, but it is important to make them look natural too.

timothy hogan advertising photography

Even if he needs to create a picture for a colorful product, Timothy also likes to choose bright colors for the background of products, for example for various types of fragrances commercials.

By using this way, the brand looks even more expressive and colors together with the brand to create a positive and lively entirety.

Rules for the perfect shot

According to Timothy, the main components which are needed for a great picture are the perfect lighting, perfect expression, mood, and the perfect composition.

By this, he doesn’t mean that the image should fit into the popular photography’s rule – rule-of-thirds, according to which, the shooting object must be in the right place, but to analyze and think how the object could find his perfect spot and then give -interesting thought for the viewer. YeeNstudioproject-1sra9vu-1024x590

The Fin project

Timothy is a huge fan of surfing, so he created a special photo project, dedicated special to craftsmen who invented the Fin on the surfing board.

the fin project

Wide or thin and sharp, big or very small, made from wood or plastic, grey or colorful – various fins of surfing boards are captured during this project, so the viewer can see a wide range of fins, compare each other.

Also, the photographer showed his creativity and imagination by creating interesting compositions of putting multiple fins into ornaments and figures, which according to a photographer, is a very strong graphic representation.

The result of this idea is very playful and amusing, but the most important thing about this project is how the surfing community was involved and the story about the Fin itself was told to the public.

fin project surf art

This project is different from the pictures Timothy usually takes because he created images by using an only camera and no special visual effects, lights or colors added.

The Fin project is a great example of creativity, it inspires to create from everything from the first sight can look very simple, not special at all and turn into interesting compositions.

Instead of photography…

In one of his interviews, Timothy told, that instead of photography, he could imagine himself being a craftsman and build things from wood.

It looks like he fulfilled his dream by creating a wooden desk and audio speakers stand which were designed and hand-built all by himself.

You can see his creatures and even buy them by visiting his official page which you can find below.

Both things have interesting designs so let’s hope Timothy will create more things from wood in the future.


Timothy Hogan’s official page:

https://www.timothy-hogan.com/index

Instagram:

https://www.instagram.com/timothyhogan/

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/timothyhoganstudio

Recommended Viewing

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Boogie – Showing The Dark Side of Street Life

Boogie (real name Vladimir Milivojevich) is a Serbian photographer based in New York.

His homeland‘s history influenced him to choose to capture the dark side of street life in his home town Belgrade, Moscow, New York, and other places.

Here he is, pictured below.

boogie photographer

Some of his images would appear to the casual observer to be quite shocking, but by using different perspectives, Boogie mostly is showing real people who live in the periphery of society and generally what kinds of lives they lead.

He had published nine photography monographs and created commercial projects for worldwide known brands like Nike, Adidas or Puma.

Background

Boogie was born in 1969 in Belgrade, Serbia. His father and grandfather were amateur photographers, so he grew up surrounded by cameras.

He got interested more seriously into photography around the ’90s during the civil war in Serbia.

This experience pushed him to focus on the darker side of street life in different places marked by many personal tragedies and are not what one might think of as particularly popular topics in street life photography.

Vladimir Milivojevich aka Boogie (26)

In 1997, he won the green card lottery (so to speak) and moved to the USA. Since then, he has been residing in Brooklyn, New York, but also keeps traveling around the world and looking for new inspiration.

In some ways, you might think of Boogie as a journalist with a camera, as he is very much interested in documenting or chronicling a certain side of life – uncovering it or exposing it for all to see, who are willing to look.

Gangs and Drugs

Boogie‘s photography style in one word could be described as fearless.

Between 2003 and 2006 he spent a lot of time with his camera in the BedStuy, Bushwick and Queensbridge neighborhoods of NYC, which are known as dangerous spots because of actively working gangs there.

Boogie-TheHundreds

While he was spending time in those areas, he captured real, non-polished moments of a wild and unsafe street life which was fulfilled with guns, violence, drugs and other illegal and dangerous stuff.

According to Boogie, experiences he had during the civil war in Serbia helped him to adapt very fast to the gangs‘ daily life and helped to capture their daily scenes and emotions.

Brazil

During his visit to Brazil cities Salvados, Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, the photographer kept the focus on the raw side of Brazil‘s street life.

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Guns, prostitution, police, abandoned buildings – Boogie shoots the opposite of what a typical tourist could imagine about this exotic country and that is the reason why his perspective is unique and shows a wider diversity of population around the globe.

Moscow

In 2019, Boogie released his newest photography book of pictures he took in Russia‘s capital Moscow. In these urban style pictures, he documented the daily life of locals.

boogie moscow photo 2

Tough tattooed guys, “Khrushchyovkas“ (apartment buildings, started to build during former USSR leader‘s Nikita Khrushchev governance period) and Soviet monuments mark today‘s Russia which was strongly implicated of USSR‘s heritage.

Boogie opened up, saying that doing photographs in Moscow gave him a feeling of being from the same tribe as these people.

According to him, Serbs and Russians were always connected as both nations are Christian Orthodox, both always had a similar world outlook and mentality.

Belgrade

Since Boogie moved to New York, he often visited his hometown Belgrade. Born as Serbian, he knows all the corners and for him, this city is full of inspiration for unique and raw pictures.

new york drug photo

Even his shots look gloomy, you can feel the power of reality in those pictures and that is something that attracts the viewer‘s attention – everything looks just very authentic and the opposite of glamorous and romantic views.

Serbia used to be a former country of Yugoslavia and because of the political situation in the country, Boogie also captured some signs of this situation.

He had published two books of pictures he took in Belgrade. According to him, the second book named “Belgrade guide“ (2017) is much different than the first one, called “Belgrade belongs to me“ (2009).

boogie photo

The first album comprises mostly of the pictures that he took during the massive protests in the ’90s against the regime and former country‘s leader Slobodan Milošević.

Boogie described his regime as apocalyptical – people have been starving and riot police were especially rough with the protesters.

He also noticed that taking a camera along with him and going into the street helped him to be more as an observer, not a participant in that chaos, so photography helped him a lot to survive hard times his country passed through.

Commercial photography

Near wandering through various cities and publishing photo albums, Boogie also made photoshoots for advertising. He shot photo campaigns mostly for sports brands like Nike, Adidas or Puma.

puma1

Even shooting for commercials, he didn‘t renounce bold style of pictures, including even vulgar or harsh models‘ emotions and urban backgrounds or abandoned locations.

Links:

Boogie was featured here on our site:

My Top 10 Best Contemporary Photographers

Boogie‘s official page:

https://www.artcoup.com/

Boogie on Instagram:

https://www.instagram.com/boogiephotographer/

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Réhahn Croquevielle – Making It Personal

rehahn croquevielle

Réhahn Croquevielle is a french photographer who resides in Vietnam and is known for his fascinating pictures of Vietnamese people and their cultural attributes.

web-Giving-back-Project-6

He has released five photo albums, created exhibitions all around the world and established the Vietnamese heritage museum. Réhahn shares Vietnamese culture with the rest of the world and helps locals to live a better life.

Background

Réhahn Croquevielle was born on 4 May 1979 in Bayeux, Normandy region of France. He didn’t learn photography formally – he is a self-taught photographer.

He grew up in a middle-class family and started to travel soon after he got his first passport. Starting more like a touristic places capturer, he decided to go deeper in photography, when he moved to Vietnam.

rehahn croquevielle

According to Réhahn, he couldn’t get good pictures back in France and it looked like Vietnam offered many more opportunities for interesting shots almost on every corner.

The first time he came to Vietnam in 2007 as a volunteer with the French project “Les Enfants du Vietnam“, whose mission is support for needy children.

After that, he use to come to this country every year when one time in 2011 he decided to relocate himself and moved to France to Vietnam.

The main reason for that was because this country had everything he needed as a modern person – good roads, fast internet, etc. and of course people, who always were friendly, kept peace, and smiled at him.

young hmong photo rehahn croqueville

Réhahn visited 32 countries, but the most cheerful, no matter their social standing or how old they are, always smiling and warm people he met especially in Vietnam.

Réhahn has some rules for taking pictures of locals: he always spends a lot of time with his models, he thinks, it is important to know the person before you gonna shoot him.

This clearly helps to create a close bond with people in front of the camera which clearly is one of the keys to good portrait photography.

Giving back project

Réhahn’s work as a photographer can be described as a social responsible artist’s work. He does not take opportunities to take pictures of people for granted, he always wants to do something for exchange.

Since he started to live in Vietnam and shoot portraits of locals, Réhahn created a “Giving back“ project, which purpose is to support Vietnamese people whether it be medical care equipment for elders or education for children.

web-Giving-back-Project-2

His first book “Vietnam, Mosaic of Contrasts” was published in 2014 and on its cover was a 74-year-old woman Mrs. Bui Thi Xong. Photographer met her accidentally in the summer of 2011 – he was walking by the river, saw her on a boat and asked if he can take a picture of her.

When she agreed and saw herself framed on a camera, Thi Xong started to laugh at herself and covered her forehead and mouth with hands – that was the real moment for the perfect shot. The portrait came on the book cover as a symbol of joy despite the human’s age and social position.

Réhahn-Croquevielle-2

After the success of the shot, Réhahn became friends with this woman, they kept in touch with each other and he even helped her by buying a new boat cause this was the thing she wanted the most.

It also became one of the most popular images which represent Vietnamese people in the world.

You can see a picture of The Madam Xong today in The Vietnamese Women’s Museum, where it represents the strength, kindness and hard work of the women of Vietnam.

Behind blue eyes

The other impressive portrait of Vietnamese people he took, is the picture of seven years old girl An Phuoc in 2015.

an-phuoc

The image draws the viewer’s attention with incredible blue eyes, which is a rare attribute in countries like Vietnam. Turns out, girl’s great-grandfather was a French and that can explain why she could have this unique eye color.

The look of this girl is accentuated by a vibrant blue scarf on her head and the whole view looks playful because of her natural and childish smile.

He also took pictures of her older siblings and parents – the whole family represents the Cham ethnic group, of which they are descendants.

web-Blog-An-Phuoc-3

Before taking this shoot, Réhahn spent a few days with a girl’s family at their home. He created friendly connection, which clearly helped him to make as natural as possible looking portraits.

In exchange for succeeded images, Réhahn helped financially for the family, also invited them all to his home in Hoi An and made sure that children could have the opportunity to learn the English language.

We featured Réhahn in our article, “My Top 10 Contemporary Photographers

Little girl and the Elephant

In 2014 Réhahn took a picture of a little girl named Kim Luan. In this picture, little Kim is standing next to the huge animal thus creating a spectacular contrast between each other.

little girl and elephant

This shot represents the M’nong tribe, an ethnic group in Vietnam, also respect to elephants and to all animals in general. Picture became famous everywhere around the world, when was published in Times and National Geographic magazines.

Capturing heritage

Photography can be a great way to show different cultures and heritage of other nationalities.

So Réhahn used this opportunity: he traveled across Vietnam by his motorbike and collected various stories from different ethnic groups, including their captured traditional costumes.

rehahn

He did surprisingly huge job by visiting 53 of 54 different tribes in Vietnam and collected 60 different traditional costumes. In 2017, Réhahn opened the Precious Heritage Museum in the city of Hoi An and he is planning to open another – the Co Tu Museum in Quang Nam city in 2019.

Current projects

Even he took thousands of pictures in Vietnam, Réhahn still keeps himself busy and socially responsible for various projects.

Despite his exhibitions all around the world, he creates landscape pictures from the top by using drone and his aim is to create pictures from different parts of the country.

With this project, Vietnam can be shown not only to people all around the world but also to the Vietnamese who cannot travel because of their social circumstances.

Réhahn’s official page:

https://www.rehahnphotographer.com/

Réhahn on Instagram:

https://www.instagram.com/rehahn_photography/

Réhahn on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/Rehahn.Photography/

Videos

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Tomasz Gudzowaty – Iron and Sinew

Tomasz Gudzowaty is a polish photographer, who has received many awards for his unique photographs touching upon nature, social commentary, and sports photography.

Often presented in black and white, Tomasz’s photos are imbued with a sense of grandiosity that can be gleaned from quiet observation, even if the movements in the picture involve dramatic movements and spur of the moment actions.

tomasz gudzowaty

Background

Tomasz Gudzowaty was born on September 19, 1971, in Warsaw, Poland. He became interested in photography since early childhood, mainly because of his uncle, who was very passionate about photography and used to take pictures of his own home town.

When Tomasz was growing up, Poland was still under the Iron Curtain. Photography, like the other types of art in Poland, was controlled by the government.

In the eighties, the Independent Photographic Agency named Dementi was very active with recording the struggle for the restoration of democracy to Poland, and thereafter the collapse of Communism in Eastern Europe.

Despite his interest in photography, Tomasz has chosen to study Law at Warsaw University.

gudzowaty taking pictures

After graduation with a master’s degree from the Faculty of Law and Administration, he has chosen his way as a professional photographer in then already free country.

Big break

The novel photographer started his career first in his homeland and soon after that, got his first awards at Polish Press Photography Contest.

Gudzowaty’s name became known to the international photographers’ community for the first time back in 1999, when he won the First Prize in Nature-singles category in the World Press Photo competition for his picture with wild animals cheetahs.

Gudzowaty cheetahs photo

That shot was breathtaking because of the killing moment in wild nature.

The next year, he continued his success and got two more awards in World Press Photo at the same Nature category, which gave him a well-earned reputation of being an observant and multi-talented nature photographer.

 Beyond the body

Next to nature-related photography, Tomasz tried him hand at sports photography. But he has chosen to look closer not into classical athletes: he took part in two Summer Paralympic games: in 2000 Sydney and 2004 Athens as a photojournalist.

Tomasz was interested in those sports, which didn‘t receive as much media attention. He created images of unique sports featuring different continents around the world.

gudzowaty 2

From the interesting variations of yoga, synchronized swimming, gymnastics stretching and all kinds of peculiar local sports such as slum golf in India, also the Nadaam race (a brutal kind of horse racing taking place in Mongolia), to the Flying Warriors (a variation of the oldest known martial arts type known as Kalaripayattu) or Sumo wrestling in Japan – all these activities, not all very well known to ordinary people in Western countries, got his attention and the result was mesmerizing.

These shots show not only the physical capability of the body but also human philosophy conveyed by body motions.

Tomasz-Gudzowaty

His works have been printed in world-class magazines like L’Equipe, Newsweek, Forbes, Time, Photo, GQ, National Geographic Traveler and etc.

Tomasz Gudzowaty is also featured in the article, “My Top 10 Best Contemporary Photographers

 “Closer”

In 2016, Gudzowaty came back to nature photography. He released a new photography book called “Closer”, in which he put pictures of various penguins species in Antarctica.

tomasz gudzowaty penguins

In these, mostly black and white pictures, a photographer captured moments of penguins daily life. Next to the high contrast, mesmerizing pictures, Tomasz is sending a message about the frightening situation in the Antartica Peninsula – that part of Earth is warming five times faster than the rest of the World, which means a huge decline of penguins.

According to Gudzowaty, his goal was to make people “stop and catch their breath in delight at all this diversity.”

closer

Three years have passed from the releasing of this book, but the topic is relevant especially these days when many movements for climate change around the world are trying to draw governments‘ attention to make important decisions.

Family

Tomasz Gudzowaty is married to a Dominican-Spanish model Melody Mir Jimenez and they have two daughters. The couple is living between Warsaw and Spain, also travels around the world.

melody_gudzowaty

His wife joined him when he was wandering around Antarctica for three weeks, where he took pictures of its nature and wildlife for his album “Closer“.

Achievements

During his career, Tomasz received nine World Press Photo awards, won many prizes at Polish Press Photography competition, Grand Press Photo, Black and White Spider Awards and many more.

gudzowaty photo 1971 ship scrappers

Accolades aside, Tomasz still keeps working actively and brings joy to the Photography enthusiasts community.


Tomasz Gudzowaty official page:

www.gudzowaty.com

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/tomaszgudzowatyoffical/

Instagram:

https://www.instagram.com/tomaszgudzowaty/

Further Viewing

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Joe McNally – Creating Connection

Nikon-Ambassador-Joe-McNally-headshot-2016

Joe McNally is a globally renowned, award-winning American photographer, and visual storyteller. Some of his bestselling books include: Faces of Ground Zero (2002), The Moment it Clicks (2008), The Hot Shoe Diaries (2009), and Sketching Light (2011).

Joe is known for his passion for the medium of photography, as evidenced by his varied creative output, culled from all corners of the globe and all walks of life, as well as his fervour for cameras of all shapes and sizes, both old and new.  He still likes to hear the sound of a shutter.

He is also not afraid of heights, it seems.

View-from-Top-of-Burj-Khalifa-Dubai-2013

As a working photographer, Joe has played many roles and worn many hats over the years, with career highlights that continue to this day, such as being the ambassador for Nikon, not to mention that he was the former TIME /LIFE Magazine staff photographer, and a winner of four World Press Photo awards.  The list goes on.

Joe is always involved with something creative and extraordinary.  This video on “Transformation” is just one example of the many curious projects that he has been involved with over the years, with himself right in the thick of it.

Now, as then, Joe keeps tenaciously at his work, and is able to create remarkable singular portraits, by establishing a relationship with the subject in front of his camera to create a unique dynamic.

Joe-McNally-Ambassador-mountain-biker-over-canyon

His work may be compared to that of a master movie director, who is able to, by their sheer enthusiasm for the task at hand, bring forth a certain energy from those they work with, with unmistakable results.

(photos from: https://portfolio.joemcnally.com/index)

joe mcnally portfolio


Background

Joe McNally was born on July 27, 1952, in Montclair, New Jersey.

joe mcnally as a kid with his dad

He grew up gazing upon “Nikon World”, a magazine published by Nikon, thinking that printed pictures in such a magazine would be among the highest achievements for a photographer.

Little did he know at the time that he would become so closely associated with the word “Nikon”…

nikon world magazine

During his younger days, his inspiration came from well known and award-winning photographers like Jay Maisel, Pete Turner, and Eric Meola.

The first time Joe got his hands on a real camera, which belonged to his dad, the device resonated with him, and the snapping of photos soon began at a leisurely yet ever-increasing pace.

Speaking of Joe’s dad, Joe has talked about him on his personal blog, and it is clear that his dad’s influence – that of hard work and blue collar life, a connection with nature, and even his dad’s experience from being in the Navy – all this helped to form Joe’s identity as both a person and as a photographer

Many of his works definitely and rather directly pay an homage to his father in some form or another, even if it isn’t readily apparent in every single shot he does.

joe-mcnally-24

After attending Syracuse University with sights set on photojournalism, the first inklings that photography could be his career began to make themselves known to him.

After graduating, with camera in hand, opportunities for adventure began to call, and Joe was soon swept up in it.

One time he bought a train ticket heading east. He was walking through the docks and talking to the locals when suddenly got an invitation to join sailors for 14 days trip to the sea. This isn’t something that a lot of people would be apt to say “yes” to, but Joe relished the chance.

While riding the currents, there was, at one point, a huge storm at sea, and the ship and crew found itself pitching through 50 feet waves!  So, naturally, Joe started to take pictures. This experience was so breathtaking, that after the ordeal, he decided that perhaps photography was his calling after all.

Perhaps because of this nautical episode, in addition to his trips to Bliss Musky Lodge, bodies of water and peoples’ interaction with them have become a recurring theme in Joe’s work, used in a multitude of ways.

kelby online video training sessions


Career

Not too long after leaving Syracuse U, with a masters degree in photojournalism from the Newhouse School of Public Communications, Joe got a job with The New York Daily News newspaper as a copy boy.

This job was apparently was fated to be brief stint, because he was fired, and from there, Joe then moved to ABC Television and worked there as a photographer.

As the medium of colour photography continued to evolve, McNally saw more possibilities open up for him. It was surely an exciting time, as he started to work as a freelancer for various magazines like TIME / LIFE, Sports Illustrated, and National Geographic.

joe mcnally digital photo

National Geographic proved to be very educational for him by showing him a new standard for what was required of a professional photographer.

Joe’s photography skilled, combined with his passion and deftness with a camera lens, became to lead Joe into a full time career, where he then began to travel the world and meet many famous people.

One defining moment of his career was when Joe took a black and white portrait of former USSR president Mikhail Gorbachev, which was taken in the woods in some snowy Soviet woodland region.

The former Soviet leader looks ever-so-nationalistic when set against such a starkly beautiful backdrop of crisp white snow and characteristically Russian trees.

gorbachev by joe mcnally

With a growing base of experience, and his travels taking him around the world and meeting people of all walks of life, Joe McNally’s name began to really become well-known.

As such, he can basically photograph anything and tell a story with it.  His ability to relate to all people, places, and things of the world make him a jack of all trades, so to speak, but still with a style that is identifiable.

ballet feet


From Burj Khalifa to Ground Zero

Throughout his career, Joe McNally has been to some stunning locations, some of which were not easy to reach, but gave spectacular views.

For example, he climbed to the top of the world’s highest building, Burj Khalifa, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Here, he left a love note to his wife, and took the picture from the top, looking down.

Burj Khalifa joe mcnally

The funny thing about this particular shoot is, surprisingly, he didn‘t get paid at all. The only thing he got, monetarily, was some shoes from the same shoe brand he was wearing in the picture.

Of course, that particularly picture went viral and that led, not surprisingly, to new offers, to climb other skyscrapers, which of course from then on Joe accepted payment for.

This tower climbing story is a perfect example of Joe’s maverick spirit where he followed a seemingly crazy idea, took a risk, and it led to something great.

In January 2002, Joe finished one of the most important projects, not only in his career, but in the whole history of American photography – he captured images of people who saved others’ lives during the September 11, 2001, terror attacks.

faces of ground zero

In these human-size portraits, there are firefighters, victims’ relatives, medical coworkers, who represent the real heroism of one of the most difficult moments in America’s history.

Here is Joe talking about this exhibition.

Joe opened up about the emotional struggle he dealt with in creating this project – sometimes people in front of the camera started to cry, remembering terrifying events of that day, and, during these hard moments, it was hard not to be too emotional.

With this project, Joe showed that despite difficult emotional moments, the final aim was achieved – these pictures became a book, and helped raised two million dollars which was then donated to public education.


Communication and Reminders

McNally has revealed that photography helped him greatly in his private life, to communicate with his family such as his daughters and ex-wife, while also providing reminders of situations that may not seem altogether positive, but ultimately show a sense of triumph.

He applied his photography skills when his daughter had self-confidence issues, or, the time that she accidentally hurt her face near a pool.  Rather than talk to his wife about it, he sent her this picture.

joe mcnally's daughter

In these situations, he couldn‘t find the right words to communicate how he felt, but the pictures spoke for themselves, showing support and encouragement, but also sometimes causing some controversy.

Also, Joe used photography as a reminder of the feeling he had, when he was visiting his mother for the last time at the hospital before she died.

Joe McNally's mom

Pictures like these can be bittersweet, but also provide important reminders about times that often can go undocumented, fading into memory and obscurity.  In some way, photos are a way to never forget, because we don’t want to forget.  In some way, documents like this are a way for us to learn.


Tips for Beginner Photographers

According to Joe, there isn’t a better time to be a photographer than right now.

There is plenty of good photo equipment, and, from there, the question becomes how to find a way to monetize various photography projects and get funding.

joe mcnally photo

In a sense, it may have been easier in the past, because printed publications were more plentiful when McNally started his career.

He always used to tell young photographers: get yourself a job in a newspaper, but, now, the world had changed, and newspapers are disappearing and online publications are on the rise.

Therefore, it is important to be active and tenacious when it comes to succeeding with your own destiny: start to create proposals, find contacts, and make sure to send your proposals out – from newspapers and magazines to corporate entities, places who might have a need of photography.

A good start for a career in a very fast-changing world can start even from local Starbucks or the library. Really, it can start from anywhere.

Joe McNally, as some other famous photographers, has a personal blog which he updates constantly, where, for example, shares his favourite camera lenses: 20 mm f/2.8 and 28 mm f/1.4.

Visit his blog here: https://blog.joemcnally.com/

Joe recommends starting a blog because it gives a voice and platform to spread works and ideas. Even if at first 10 people will read it, maybe 20 more will be the next month.  The snowball effect is real.


Joe McNally Quotes

“When shooting a story about someone, their hands should always be on your list to shoot.”

“The most important piece of equipment in your bag is your attitude.”

Joe-McNally-Ambassador-mountain-biker-over-canyon

“When I teach young photographers, I say: look, photography is not what you do, being a photographer is something you are. And if you are a photographer, you’re screwed, because you have no choice, you only need to go forward.”

“I wanted to meet Gorbachev because that’s what you can do as a photographer: take your imagination and make it real by photographing what you see.”

“When you find something which is truly beautiful, you can’t not shoot”.

Joe_McNally_by_Ahmed_Arup_Kamal

“A lot of people think that is all about the pictures; it’s not. You have to have a personality that sustains you. You have to have the drive, work ethic, to relate to the client, to people in front of the camera and make that happen quickly.”

“Even after 35 years of practice, it good pictures don’t come automatically. Maybe you have problems at home, and you need to work, so you do it. It’s not always like wandering through perfect lighted streets, sometimes it is, but most of the time is just hard work.”


References

Faces of Ground Zero:

https://www.facesofgroundzero.com/index

Joe McNally on Instagram:

https://www.instagram.com/joemcnallyphoto/

Joe McNally on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/joemcnallyphoto/


Recommended Videos With Joe McNally

Thanks for reading, please leave any comments below!

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Jason M. Peterson – High Contrast Hustler

Jason M. Peterson is an American digital and mobile photographer who has come upon the photography scene in recent years, taking the world by storm with photos that play off the drama of darkness and light, and overall capture the majesty of the human experience.  

He is also, in the best sense of the word, a “hustler”.

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For his photos, Jason uses a strictly black & white technique, which was a style foreseen by the artist early on, and which is now seen by millions of admirers online and offline.

Rising to prominence via Instagram, Jason is part of the online movement of late, where people with amazing but previously uncelebrated skill seemingly rise to notoriety out of nowhere, due to a growing popularity, undeniable skill, and nascent social media presence. 

jason m peterson photographer

Jason is also the chief creative officer at Havas, a multi-national ad agency. 

He is a creator who clearly has the ability to straddle several worlds at once, from gritty stark street photography which broods with human drama, to a futuristic style that puts people into the context of the world we live in, to a more corporate lifestyle centred around his ad business. In this latter regard, he has worked with the Chicago Bulls, ESPN, and PacSun, to name a few organizations of note.

Visit: Jason M. Peterson’s legendary Instagram


Pre-Mobile Photography Days

Jason M. Peterson was born on 20th November, 1970, in Phoenix, Arizona. He started to delve into the world of photography by way of its history when he was in high school.

Early on, his methods of taking photos were no different than your typical photographer, using a camera and film, since that’s what was available at the time – all the while he had this burning desire to deliver quality results faster and better, in a more impromptu, temporal, and guerrilla way.

At first, none of this was not possible, creating some frustration for the artist, who simply wanted more freedom to work according to his creative impulses. 

Still, in his mind’s eye, Jason pondered the legacy of his artistic heroes, such as movie-maker Stanley Kubrick and photographer Harry Callahan, whose high contrast work that he did many decades before made a huge impact on Peterson’s style (see below).

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Early on in his evolution as an artist, and prior to the social media boom with mobile apps like Insta and Tumblr, there didn’t seem to be a way to be a truly “modern” photographer in the sense of applying the new mobile technology that was capable of beginning to combine phones, computers, and cameras into one convenient package.

Jason wouldn’t find a solution to the ADD-satisfying instantly epic results he desired until some time later.

jason peterson photographer

After graduating from high school, he studied history and design at the University of Arizona, where he made forays into fashion and urban photography.

One of the first things he captured photographically in his search for an artistic aesthetic was punk rock bands performing on a stage, since Jason himself was a fan of this type of music, and could easily spot the drama inherent in this style of performing.

jason m peterson arizona straight edge

In the beginning, he was using more conventional methods of photography, resisting digital photography as it appeared to be too obviously digitally made and inferior.

It took him some time before the technology caught up with his desire to actually use it.


Beyond the Barriers

Like many professional photographers, before starting to use social networks to promote his work, Jason M. Peterson was skeptical.

The Instagram platform, for instance, seemed to him to be a hipster haven with no appreciable value to him or his work.

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At the behest of a friend, he tried it, and soon, he was hooked. 

After posting his first few pictures and getting likes from strangers all around the world, he quickly changed his mind – from there it became a game he could relate to, and a platform where his rapid fire photography of urban life and human interaction and expression might take shape.

Once the mobile phone technology finally “arrived”, as it were, in terms of camera quality, Jason was quick to embrace this new technology, where he could do his work in a very “in the moment” style, capturing exactly the combination of subject, light, and shadow, that he wanted.

The results he was getting, started to speak for themselves.

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Jason was quick to brand his Instagram page as a ready-made portfolio of his classic, high contrast, black and white images, and the world began to take notice.  Posting daily helped.

As he continued to evolve, he began to develop a more “timeless” technique, where everything he took seemed to rival his heroes in terms of composition and aesthetics, gaining an increasingly epic quality with an eye for details most would miss.

Now, to get the perfect shot, all he really needed to do with be out in the world, and the world would present to him shots that no one else but him could see or get.  Contrast, angles, subject, meaning – it all began to coalesce into what became his signature style.

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As time went on, he began to create with both expensive technology, and then different mobile technology and apps.  The world had opened up to him, and nothing was off limits in terms of achieving his photographic and artistic visions.

Jason began to truly embrace the freedom inherent in taking photos with a mobile device.  The devices were able to deliver the goods, and Jason M. Peterson became almost a medium between the “shot” and the camera lens.

Read our article featuring Jason M. Peterson – Top 10 Best Contemporary Photographers


Chicago

After twenty years of living in New York, Jason M. Peterson moved to Chicago and became a nonofficial ambassador of this city.

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Jason has no qualms with sharing with the photography community exactly what camera and settings he uses, and which places or spots he visits.

Jason wants that everyone would have the option to do what he’s doing, but in their own way.  Since so many people have phones capable of taking incredible shots these days, there is no reason that people can’t do this for themselves, if that’s their wish.

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Jason has joked that he probably did more for Chicago’s tourism than all tourism campaigns combined, because everyone who follows his works on social media think that Chicago is amazing place to visit and they want to go there.  


Keep on Hustlin’

Seeking to improve his skills every day, Instagram has given Jason M. Peterson the ability to streamline his efforts, and progress in a way that is pleasing to him.  

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Keeping in mind the philosophy that new work should be, even in a small way, an improvement over old work, keeps Jason’s work ever-evolving, as he continues to capture the world in a way that has people in awe.


Quotes

“Wherever I’m at, I’m just looking around and I’m just watching life happen. There will be light shining off a building, and there will be a little reflection that people are just walking by with their Starbucks not noticing. I’ll just stop and look at that light and wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. I’m late all the time, to everywhere I’m going. I’ll sit there and wait for some weird small little life moment to happen right in that light, and then it’s like literally one shot –  boom, I got it. And that’s it. But it’s like these little moments that happen in urban life all the time that you miss.”

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“I think the number-one thing is, do stuff that you really love to do. Don’t follow other people. Be true to your vision or what your passion or talent is. I shoot photographs every day, and people are like, how long did it take you to do that? And I’m like, I don’t know, like two minutes? Because it’s what I do. I’m really passionate about it. I think a lot of people are trying to force themselves into doing something that they may not even necessarily like or do or have a talent for. So I think the biggest encouraging thing is, figure out what your own voice is, and then just be about that. People will come along to that if it’s good.”


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Steve McCurry – Revealing The World’s True Colours

steve mccurry photo war

Steve McCurry is an American photographer and photojournalist. 

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Background

He was born on April 23, 1950 in Philadelphia. Steve studied Film at Pennsylvania State University. After graduation in 1974, he started to work for a local newspaper called The Daily Collegian and started his career as a photographer.

After a few years of working as a freelance photographer, McCurry made his first trip to India.

Back then, he didn‘t know that this country would be the start for his international career, filled with many trips to countries, which suffer from armed conflicts, war, and poverty, but also will give him huge resources to know different cultures and take fascinating pictures.


India

Everything started from a one-way ticket. India for the first trip was chosen not accidentally. Its rich culture promised many vivid and lively shots.

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Through his career, McCurry had visited India many times and collected wide spectrum of pictures. From cities full of people like Mumbai or Kolkata till farmscapes in the Uttar Pradesh area.

While traveling through these places, he started to create spectacular portraits of locals, surrounded by cows and busy with their daily works. You can see deep looks, which catch your attention and give you the feeling, that behind every person, it doesn‘t matter if he or she is young or old, is an individual and unique story, which Steve was trying to bring to the world.

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India is very generous of giving the photographer plenty of colors – red, orange, blue or green and that perfectly reflects at Steve’s photos. You can see different fabrics on people’s bodies or turbans on men’s heads.

By taking these pictures, the photographer shows, that huge part of India‘s culture can be disclosed exposing the vivid colors of locals, because it seems like every person he shoots is one of a kind and unique.

Steve said: “I think that joy of photographing in India is that you never quite know what is waiting for you around the next corner. There is always, what‘s delightful, horrified, something that you never saw before, something who always can strike you in the face”.

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The artist emphasizes a picture he took in the Rajasthan region, saying that circumstances were favourable, when suddenly dust storm started and it created an exclusive atmosphere for the shot.

Group of women were hiding from the storm covered in the circle and started to sing.

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What McCurry likes of this picture, is how fabric was blown during the dust storm and the fabrics itself symbolize the past, cause they aren’t produced anymore and also the trees are symbol too because there is a big desolation of trees in that part of the country.


Afghanistan and the big break

While being in India, Steve McCurry accidentally snuck into Afghanistan, just before it was invaded by Soviet troops.

He needed to be very careful: shave his beard, put the same clothes as locals wear and especially hide his cameras in a bag.

At that time, there was a military zone with the armed Pakistani soldiers and the whole region was unsafe but also very interesting for a photographer.

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When he sent films with pictures back to his family, one of them were printed in Geo magazine and The New York Times, but the real break happened when the Soviet army invaded Afghanistan later the same year and then the appearance of these photos was vitally important for all printed media.


The famous Afghan girl

When photo of the Afghan girl was printed on the cover of National Geographic magazine in 1985, it became one of the most popular and iconic pictures in the whole photography history.

The picture was taken at the refugee camp during the Soviet invasion. McCurry remembered, that there was a full class of children, but one girl took his attention from the entering in the classroom, because of her incredible green eyes and mesmerized look.

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At first, a girl was a bit shy, because probably it was the first time in her life when somebody was taking pictures of her, but her teacher told her, that it would be important to let the whole world see her.

To create this portrait the circumstances were perfect – right light, good background and an expression of the girl‘s face.

The authenticity of a girl brought success, because she didn‘t pose, just sat calmly and looked into the lens.

The picture of a girl symbolizes the fear and horror of war and perfectly illustrates how one image can describe individual experiences during a difficult situations of the country during the war.

About the inspiration: “I think what inspires me, is that incredible world we live in, all the ways people live their lives, come out of the mountains, wearing this jewelry, hats, and in the middle east women covered to the top – all of this area of culture is happening in the same little particular place of dust. I am amazed by how we all are the same, we do the same things, we all do them erratically in different ways. So I think the thing, which inspires me is the traveling, absorbing and wandering around this amazing planet”.

And where is that famous Afghan girl now?  Here she is speaking with the BBC.  Clearly the photo was a mixed blessing for her.


Family

Steve McCurry is married and has a daughter, who was born in 2017. He loves to travel with his family to various countries, he hopes, that his daughter could know other cultures, meet different people and learn to speak several languages, because for him it is important, that she could feel comfortable in different parts of the world.


Published works and achievements

Steve McCurry has published books including: The Imperial Way (1985), Monsoon (1988), Portraits (1999), South Southeast (2000), Sanctuary (2002), The Path to Buddha: A Tibetan Pilgrimage (2003), Steve McCurry (2005), and Looking East: Portraits (2006), In the Shadow of Mountains (2007), The Unguarded Moment (2009), The Iconic Photographs (2012), Steve McCurry Untold: The Stories Behind the Photographs (2013), From These Hands: A Journey Along the Coffee Trail.

Through more than 40 years of his career, Steve received various awards, including Medal of Honor for coverage of the 1986 Phillippine Revolution given by White House News Photographers Association, Golden Doves for Peace journalistic prize issued by the Italian Research Institute Archivio Disarmo in 2018.

Steve McCurry

His works were exhibited in the exhibitions in New York, Hong Kong, Brussels, and other cities. The most important – his works inspired many photographers and creators around the world.

To see Steve McCurry‘s pictures you can visit on of the following sites:

https://www.stevemccurry.com/

https://www.facebook.com/stevemccurrystudios

https://www.instagram.com/stevemccurryofficial/?hl=en


Steve McCurry Videos

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Nobuyoshi Araki and his Unremitting Lens

Photography is about a single point of a moment. It’s like stopping time. As everything gets condensed in that forced instant. But if you keep creating these points, they form a line which reflects your life.

A Tokyo-born photographic maestro and contemporary artist Nobuyoshi Araki is has a notorious persona and is arguably the most prolific living photographer of Japan.

He has amassed an encyclopedic wealth of work. To date, Araki has published over 450 photo books, also shot for the likes of Dazed, Playboy, The New York Times Magazine and Vogue, and taken part in 280 solo exhibitions.

Tokyo’s darling may leave critics divided but his artistic genius is undeniable: every image is unique and capture with extreme levels of technical mastery; his influence has penetrated just about every creative field from film, photography to the world of fashion.

Pretty much a self-evident truth, Araki’s work has garnered equal amounts of praise and criticism over the years for treading the line between photography and pornography, misogyny and conceptual genius.

Background

Having be born on May, 25, 1940 in a red light district in northeastern Tokyo, Araki spent his formative years in wartime and postwar in Japan. The most part of Araki’s images are centered around Japanese society.

Most of the photographer’s pictures are taken in Tokyo where he was born and he is captured thousands of Tokyo street scenes as well as images of the resident Edokko (Edo is historical name of Tokyo) Accordingly, it is not surprising that his attention is so focused on subjects linked with the environment of his upbringing- sexuality, lust and power play.

From 1959 to 1963, he studied photography and filmmaking at Chiba University in Tokyo, and graduated and majored in Film Making and Photography in 1963.

After studying, he first entered the workforce as a commercial photographer for advertising giant Dentsu, where he worked until 1972.

Dentsu was instrumental in making Araki the artist he would later become. He found commercial photography to be so conservative and limiting that he started to experiment with radical conceptual photography.

In 1970, he compiled his all artworks in 25 volumes, printing 70 copies each and distributing them to art critics, his friend and random people; he called this year The First Year of Araki.

Araki’s particular fascination is Kinbaku-bi, ‘the beauty of tight bondage’.

An ancient form of Japanese rope play, Kinbaki-bi is a sexualized development of Hojojutsu, the traditional martial art of using ropes as restraints.

The technique, once used on prisoners, has been adopted to blur the line between pain and pleasure; the element of control is transformed into a consensual erotic art.

The ideas of control, eroticism and submission that he found in Kunbaku-bi were the most alluring subjects for Araki; the practice of depicting demure Japanese women in traditional dress, hanging precariously from ceilings or sitting on floors, staring silently back at camera with their limbs tightly restrained.

The photographer’s pictures of naked women bound with ropes in overtly sexual positions are perhaps his best known and most controversial, drawing frequent criticism and accusations of falling somewhere between misogyny and pornography.

In 1971, he married to his life partner Yōko.

As his partner, Yōko also found her own life captured on a daily basis, becoming his muse in the process.

In their relationship, nothing was out-of-bounds and Araki recorded every minute detail of their everyday lives, from Yōko in the midst of an orgasm, to Yōko on her deathbed, and later, in her coffin after she died of ovarian cancer in 1990.

Sentimental Journey

When he had released the book Sentimental Journey, documenting the honeymoon he and his wife took and exposing the tender and intimate moments, he made his mark on contemporary photography.

Check price of Sentimental Journey on Amazon

Araki’s wife Yōko aged 42, passed away on January, 27 1990. The same year, he was awarded with Annual Award of the Photographic Society of Japan.

The Sentimental Journey, Winter Journey released in 1991, recounts the final years of his marriage, with the particular focus on Yōko’s battle with terminal illness.

The images methodically detail her symptoms, the deterioration of her physical and mental health and her eventual death. Araki now signs every photo with their wedding date as a constant reminder of her deeply-felt absence.

Her passing marked a turning point in Araki’s style, which changed its focus from sexual ecstasy and hedonism to more shocking end explicit photo-compositions.

Recently, morose and melancholy undertones have become pervasive in his work as his style has mellowed with old age.

Tokyo Lucky Hole

Shortly after his wife’s death, in 1990, the most controversial period of Araki’s career has started.

The book titled Tokyo Lucky Hole, a personal diary of Araki’s trips to the brothels of his home city is incredibly shocking in its visceral detail of sex, cages, orgies and bondage, all feature heavily, but the documentarian style that pervades the body of work gives it an almost anthropological angle.

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The Unremitting Lens

The power of the imagery lies in the authenticity of Araki’s approach, something he achieved by blurring the lines between photographer and subject.

The first-hand participatory method in which Tokyo Lucky Hole is shot sees Araki at the center of many images, actively engaging in sex with the prostitutes whilst his assistant takes control of the camera.
 
In Tokyo Lucky Hole, nothing is off-limits; prostitutes and their clients were shown in all emotional and physical states.

Pleasure, passion and depression are all captured by Araki’s unremitting lens. The work has been interpreted by some as voyeuristic, but Araki is playing the role of documenter, capturing a part of life that is rarely seen by outside world.

Araki’s series ‘Erotos’, consisted of understated black and white photos, was published in 1993.

In this very photo-book Araki seeks out the form of female genitalia in the natural world; a set of lips, a crack in the ground, a fig, a woman’s eye turned sideways, a curved pipe suggests the male body.

Abstract and muted, these works are erotically evocative, rather than explicit.

While the snapshot studies of Japanese bondage have shocked, with women naked or in maiko makeup suspended from the ceiling or bound in elaborately tied knots, the ‘Erotos series has a subtler sensibility, like an artist’s love poem to human sexuality.

The themes and subject matters that Araki explores bear a striking similarity to that of American photographer Robert Mapplethorpe who is known for his active involvement and extensive photographic documentation of the gay and underground fetish scenes of New York in the 1970s.

Robert Mapplethorpe also broke the line between photographer and subject, very often invited his sitters, subjects, in order to engage them in sexual acts with him.

Like Araki, he used his sexual behavior as the basis for much of his artistic output; they both played with the idea of sexuality in non-sexual objects.

Araki’s photo-books show that he considers no subjects too sensitive. Even his battle with prostate cancer in 2009, is documented in forensic, emotionless detail in the book Tokyo Prostate Cancer.

The date stamps on the bottom corner of the photographs have been manipulated by Araki in order to display the 6th and 9th of April, references to the dates of the 1945 atomic bombing by the United States on the cities Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Araki is alluding to his own personal relationship with radioactivity by making the connection to two of the most harrowing days in Japanese history.

After Yōko’s death, Araki lived alone with his cat Chiro who arrived in the photographer’s life in 1988, and stayed with him for the next 22 years, becoming his most constant companion.

The book Sentimental Journey, Spring Journey (2010) shows their relationship. And once again, the work was published after Chiro’s death and the main focus is on the moments the two shared together in the wake of Yōko departure.

The parallels between the two journeys are poignant, with Araki intentionally choosing similar compositions and themes to draw parallels between his two muses.

Love on the Left Eye

In October, 2013, Araki lost his vision in his left eye due to a retinal artery obstruction. For some photographers, this would have been a massive blow, but for Araki, it only served as new inspiration.

The next year, 2014, he released a new photo book coupled with a June 2014 exhibition at Tokyo’s Taka Ishii Gallery, both entitled Love on the Left Eye. The images reflect his altered visual state.

The nudes and flowers that make up this collection are half eclipsed – the right side of each exposure colored in with a marker before printing, and the photographs produced represent the shadowed vision of his right eye.

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The main reason for Araki’s never-ending output of photography boils down to the philosophy of shi-shōsetsu, literally translated as ‘’I-novel’’.

It was a genre of early Japanese literature where the author narrated the plot from a first-person perspective. Araki has adopted the same modus operandi for his photography where he obsessively documents his life, thus creating a diary of sorts.

This concept is ingrained into his work, with many of his photo books featuring nikki, the Japanese word for diary, in their titles.

Araki’s photography is extremely personal and some of his photo books can be seen as contemporary versions of the Japanese pillow book, a type of private diary, where nothing is too personal or too sacred to be recorded.

Araki’s work shows a man with a relentless passion for photography. The vast majority of his images make their way into the public domain via his photo books, with his prodigious work seeing him release up to 20 a year.

No Compromise

The impact of his work will always be most acutely felt in his homeland, where his uncompromising portrayal of sex and sexual practices caused the most controversy.

Whilst Araki has gained many admirers and a legion of dedicated followers, his detractors dismiss his work as misogynistic and derogatory, comparing it to mere pornography.

Undoubtedly, Araki has a taboo-breaking career. His graphic images confront the hidden eroticism that lies beneath the surface of polite Japanese society; sex, BDSM, prostitution and the role of the Geisha are all subjects that fearless photographer addresses.

By pointing his camera lens at the hidden sexual underbelly of Japanese society, he tackles off-limit issues and confronts the hypocrisy of the country’s censorship laws.

The nature of some of his pictures has been so outrageous, in fact, that he has been arrested for obscenity under Japanese law.

His ‘Photomania Diary’ exhibition (1992) was forcibly shut by the police on grounds of obscenity, and Araki was arrested for disorderly conduct.

For Nobuyoshi Araki photography is a way of life; with a camera in his hands, he is free to pursue his fantasies and write his life experiences, trying to capture the ephemeral moments that life presents before they disappear forever.

 

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Henri Cartier-Bresson – Decisive Moments

Widely considered as one of the leading artistic forces and major artists of the twentieth century, Henri Cartier-Bresson with his humane and spontaneous photographs is closely linked to the modern photojournalism in its early stages.

His wandering nature brought him to some of the most significant sites and events in modern history; he covered many of the biggest events from the Spanish civil war to the French upbringing in 1968.

He is regarded as one of the true pioneers of street photography who was capable of producing extremely modern compositions.

Background

Henri Cartier-Bresson was born in 1908 in Chanteloup-en-Brie, France. His family was wealthy; his father Andre, a severe man dedicated to his successful business, made a fortune as a textile manufacturer.

Henri’s mother Martha exposed him to the Parisian arts scene from his early age, including music concerts, literature, poetry and art exhibitions.

At the early age of five, painting captured the interest of the young boy mainly thanks to his uncle Louis who was an accomplished painter.

The two spent hours in Louis’s studio together and young Henri began referring to his uncle as his ‘mythical father’. This apprenticeship ended tragically when his uncle was killed during the World War I.

Despite his father’s wishes for his son to attend the prestigious French business school, Henri Cartier-Bresson failed the entrance exam three times.

Eventually, in 1926 he went studying in Montparnasse at the private art academy of French cubist painter and sculptor Andre Lhote.

Lhote advocated combining the aesthetic of the Cubists with the technical conventions of French neoclassical painting, which he thought would connect modernism to tradition.

Along with his students, Lhote (pictured below) made trips to Parisian Louvre to study classical works of old masters and visited contemporary exhibitions around Paris.

From 1928 to 1929 Cartier-Bresson spent a year in England studying art and literature at Magdalene College at the University of Cambridge.

The next year, he was forced to leave studying, because he was enlisted into the French army and station outside of Paris. Upon returning to Paris, he was introduced to some important people in French art circles.

Young Henri was especially attracted to surrealist writer Rene Cravel and his well-known nihilism, his dedication to the philosophy outlined in the Surrealist manifesto and his air of rebellion.

Owing to Crevel, young Henri met some of the greatest minds and artists at that time such as Marcel Duchamp, Max Ernst, Andre Breton and Man Ray.

Surrealism’s reliance on intuition and spontaneous expression enticed Cartier-Bresson to add those ideas to his own experimental work.

Although the ideas and personalities of this very movement intrigued Cartier-Bresson greatly, he eventually choose to follow colleagues Robert Capa’s advice- to watch out for labels, because “they’re reassuring but somebody’s going to stick one on you that you’ll never get rid of”.

He advised him to keep the other thing for himself, in his heart of hearts.

As a boy, Cartier-Bresson had been initiated into the mysteries of the simple ‘brownie’ snapshot camera, but his first serious concern with medium occurred about 1930, after seeing the work of two major 20th century photographers Man Ray and Eugène Atget.

Having fulfilled his military obligations, in 1931, Henri Cartier traveled to French colonial Africa, the Cote d’Ivoire, seeking adventure, with the intention of escaping the structures of city life.

He took some photographs with his second-hand Krauss camera. This year-long adventure ended when he contracted parasitical disease, blackwater fever that nearly killed him.

Having returned to France in 1931, during his recuperation in Marseille, he saw, by chance, ‘Three Boys at Lake Tanganiyka’ (pictured below), a photo by Hungarian photographer Martin Munkacsi.

The image featured three boys running naked into waves on an African beach; the image captured a unique moment in time so strikingly that Henri was inspired to pursue photography more seriously that had been absent in his earlier dabbling with the medium.

First Camera and Photos

Soon thereafter, Cartier-Bresson bought his first Leica camera, a new one to the market. It helped him facilitate the impromptu nature of his approach to photography, allowing him to act promptly, to capture candid images of his subjects without being overly intrusive.

From 1932 through 1933 and 1934 he traveled with his camera across Europe, Africa and Mexico producing a good number of photographs that were commissioned for publications.

One of the most successful image by Cartiert-Bresson from this period is Plase de l’Europe (1932.) The snapshot of a man gleefully hopping over a flooded area in Paris catches the moment just before the man’s heel hits the water.

A hazily-captured building in the distance contrasts with the ornamented, spiked fence; the two diverse elements combine in alchemy of curves and reflections creates the urban background.

The spontaneous photo was captured at the iconic railway, a bustling urban space, served as the settling for many famous twentieth-century artists such as Monet, Manet and Caillebote, all of whom had been influential in Cartier-Bresson’s own artistic development.

Modern motion is celebrated by the fact that it is forever stopped, the leaping man will never hit the puddle, the split-second image is permanently frozen in time.

This very photograph is one of only a few ones that Cartier-Bresson ever chose to crop. Ordinarily, he avoided adjusting his work after originally framing a shot and instead embraced unmediated chance encounters.

This aesthetic practice and preference made him one of the pioneers and founders of street photography.

Surrealism, War, and Changing Views

The photograph “Natcho Aguirre” was shot during his trip to Mexico in 1934 exemplifies the heavy influence of Surrealism on Cartier-Bresson work.

Like the Surrealist painters, Cartier-Bresson photographs are perplexing and disturbing visual games intended to provoke the subconscious mind to make connections that are deeply personal.

The half-naked man who seems to be writhing free of the reminder of his clothing could be contorting himself in either agony or ecstasy, the ambiguity is what makes the image so deeply unsettling.

The shoes take on a significance because of their displacement. Cast off and ordinary, in the context of this image, juxtaposed with the male torso, there is no logic to their inclusion in the composition.

The uncanny juxtaposition was a hallmark of Surrealism that Cartier-Bresson found interesting and irresistible.

Just before World War II, Henri Cartier-Bresson set aside photography and traveled to New York where he spent a year learning the principles of montage under the patronage of the modernist photographer Paul Strand.

The next year, he decided to return to Paris determined to capture Europe’s political climate in moving images. He joined Jean Renoir as an assistant to work in the production on the film for the communist party.

This very film named ‘Life is Ours’’ / La vie est á nous from 1936, attacked the leading powerful families who controlled France. As a photographer he felt indebted to the great films he saw as a youth.

They taught him to choose precisely the expressive moment, the telling viewpoint. The importance he gave to sequential images in still photography may be attributed to his preoccupation with film.

Afterwards, Henri Cartier-Bresson made three documentaries in support of Republican Spain. Shortly thereafter, he joined the staff of the newly founded communist newspaper Ce Soir and returned to photography.

Military Photographer

With the onset of World War II, Cartier-Bresson joined the French military as a photographer. That very year, he was taken prisoner and sent to German labor camp.

After three terrible years in the camp, he escaped on his third attempt. He settled down on the farm in Vosges and remained there until the end of the war.

He continued underground resistance activities with the MNPGD- National Movement of War Prisoners and Deportees.

When the Allied forces had landed in Normandy, Henri Cartier traveled to Paris with his fellow Capa in order to cover the city’s liberation from German occupation.

Capa had taken some of the most emblematic photographs of the Allied invasion on D-day on Omaha Beach, but the two men were responsible for providing some of the most memorable images of the death throes of the devastating war; they defined wartime photojournalism.

Henri Cariter-Bresson co-founded Magnum Photos agency along with fellow photographers Seymor, Capa and George Rodgers. The agency was found to help protect photographers and their interests, all reproduction rights and the rightful owners of their negatives.

On His Own

No longer working under contracts for magazines, Cartier-Bresson had to seek out work on his own. His political views and activities were firmly to the left and he was mainly dedicated to journalistic photography. He was free to pursue photography and its artistic possibilities.

In 1947, Cartier-Bresson went to China to document the civil war, social unrest that accompanied the political transition from Kuomintang, the Chinese National Party, to Mao Zedong’s communist rule and the People’s Liberation Army.

At that time in China, the value of paper money extremely decreased and Kuomintang decided to distribute 40 grams of gold per person to prevent even worse social unrest.

In the image Shanghai, frenetic Chinese citizens have lined up to sell their gold before the Revolution of Mao Zedong could render even the reliable currency of gold obsolete.

The subjects stand in a crush of bodies, their desperation fuses them into a single mass.

The photo was taken just before ten lives were lost in suffocating crush; Cartier-Bresson succinctly captured the claustrophobic character of the image.

The Birla House, from 1948 documents Jawaharlal Nehru, a Prime Minister of India, announcing the death of Mahatma Gandhi to the crowd.

The gravity of the historic speech and dramatic lightning create the pathos of the moment.

The photograph is a document of Cartier-Bresson’s awareness of the historical significance of the event and particularly, moment it captures: the tragedy of Gandhi’s death and the independence of India from British colonial rule.

Cartier-Bresson was one of the last people who speak with Gandhi before he died, little more than an hour before he was shot and killed.

The Decisive Moment

The publication of the book The Decisive Moment in 1952 was one of the most crucial events of Henri Cartier-Bresson’s career.

Henri Matisse designed the book’s cover, and the 126 photos it featured drew from his portfolio of images from all around the world.

Henri Cartier explained how he chose the title of the book. He used quote of seventeenth-century cleric and political agitator Cardinal de Retz which states: ‘There is nothing in this world that does not have a decisive moment’.

This phrase, the title of his first publication became his aesthetic raison d’être. For Henri Cartier-Bresson, photography is the simultaneous recognition, in a fraction of the second, of the significance of an event as well as of a precise organization of forms which give that event its proper expression.

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By the time of his grand exhibition in the prestigious Louvre in France 1955, Cartier-Bresson had acquired international recognition for photojournalism.

Henri Cartier-Bresson’s ability to get the most out of each situation was the key to his success.

He never refused being introduced to anyone, he had sensitivity to whoever he spoke with, and ultimately he was very connected to many important people.

All these attributes allowed him access to photos that no other photographer could match. For the next ten years he continued traveling the world, very often in the context of war.

In addition, he had the unique privilege of being the first Western photographer to take photographs in the Cold War-era SSSR.

Retirement

Cartier- Bresson retired from photography and left Magnum Photo around 1966.

During the 1970s, Cartier-Bresson stopped carrying his camera around, which had been like a part of his body much of his adult life; he kept the camera in a safe where it remained.

In this period, he began painting again, applying an aesthetic honed over a lifetime of producing primarily photographs.

Towards the end of his life, Henri Cartier-Bresson even developed a reluctance to photography and wished to have no part in being curator, archivist or even a commentator on his own photography.

He died on August 3, 2004 in Cereste, France.

The concept of ‘the decisive moment’ captures the essence of Cartier-Bresson work. Since its invention, the potential of photography had been debated widely; the divide between ‘documentary’ and ‘art’ photography seemed intractable.

Cartier-Bresson used photography as medium to create visual documents of remarkable spontaneity; combining his affinity for the disciplined painting of the great masters, his interest in modern philosophy with his passion for adventure and desire to be in the middle of current events.

 

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Annie Leibovitz – History In The Making

I can never forget the sensation of being at a newsstand and seeing for the first time my photograph transformed into the Rolling Stone cover.

Anne Leibovitz is renowned for her quirky and dramatic iconic portraits of a great variety of celebrities. She has created some of the most controversial and popular images of the last 40 years. Iconic figures spanning creative, celebrity and intellectual circles have sought to work with Leibovitz in admiration of her interpretative perspective.
 
Possessing an ability to celebrate and critique mainstream culture in equal measure, her signature style is crisp and well lighted. She is influenced by the documentary tradition, but also comfortable with theatrical staging. The blending of fine art and pop contexts lends her work a unique cultural cachet.

Background

Anna-Lou Leibovitz was born on October, 2, in 1949, in Connecticut and grew up in an idyllic, middle-class family. Her parents were of Jewish and Eastern Europe descent; the mother, Marilyn, was a modern dance instructor who instilled in little Anne a passion for art, music and dancing, and the father Sam had a military career, as a lieutenant colonel in the US Air Force.
 
The Leibovitz moved around frequently and her family credits her success as a photographer to growing up seeing the world through a car window.

In 1967, Annie Leibovitz attended the San Francisco Art Institute, began studying painting with the main intention to become an art teacher. Meanwhile, in her second semester she took a photography workshop, and became engrossed in medium.
 
The photography workshop was based on the ideas of famous modern photographers, especially Henri Cartier-Bresson and Robert Frank. Both photographers were known for their documentary style, their engagement with quotidian and famous subjects, and both of them were influential for Liebovitz.

Rolling Stone

In 1970, while still in school Annie showed Jann Wenner, the creator of Rolling Stone magazine, her photograph of a poet Allen Ginsberg smoking pot at an anti-Vietnam march. She was immediately hired to be a contributing photographer and her image was used as the cover for the magazine.
 
At the time, Rolling Stone was a new, experimental, magazine focused on the counterculture that emerged from the bohemian thinking of the late 1950s and rock music.

Three years later, Leibovitz had become the chief photographer for the Rolling Stone (by the time she was 23 years old) and had been given absolute artistic freedom to experiment with her work. She directed her energies toward a unique presentation of the major personalities of contemporary rock music.
 
She made some of the publication’s most iconic images, including the most influential musicians of the 20
th century.

After having building her reputation as a skillful rock’n’roll photographer, in 1975 she documented the Rolling Stones’ six-month North American concert tour during which she shot several widely reproduced photographs of lead singer Mick Jagger and guitarist Keith Richards.

Mick Jagger (Buffalo, NY, 1975), captures one of these moments and has become an emblematic image from the historic tour.

The black and white photo depicts Jagger standing in an elevator wearing a white robe and turbaned towel on his head. The image was taken immediately after one of his last performances; Mick stares directly at the camera, reflecting exhaustion that comes with performing and partying every night.
 
This piece along with others from this very tour has come to show how Annie approached her subjects, early in her career. She would spend days, weeks, or even a year with her subject in order to get familiar and revealing shots.
 
She was so successful at integrating herself into new environments that subject eventually became comfortable with her presence, even forgetting she was there. The result of these immersive interactions led to drug abuse problems; she became addicted to cocaine.

 

Capturing Moments

Annie enjoyed the collaborative and social environment by the magazine; it was a mix of personalities that led to some original work. She particularly enjoyed working with the legendary journalist and creator of gonzo journalism, Hunter S.
 
Thompson, whose erratic and fast paced lifestyle became legendary as his writing. The two shared a kindred spirit and affinity for hard partying.

Working on assignment for Rolling Stone with Hunter S. Thompson, Leibovitz captured the moment when president Nixon left the White House for the last time.

The expressive photos (Untitled; Guards rolling up carpet after Nixon, 1974) captured an extraordinary documented event in American history in a novel way. Leibovitz herself attributed this to her ability to capture moments either before or after‘ the moment’ .It was the moment after the helicopter carrying Nixon had taken off, and the three men are packing up the last vestiges of ceremony, the carpet where Nixon would appear as president for the last time.
 
It is both mundane and theatrical; the guards could be stagehands or porters, but the presence of the carpet and the White House setting evokes the pageantry of the State.

Her work for this very magazine introduced her to some of the most famous creative figures of the time. Perhaps her most famous work from this period is a portrait of John Lennon and his wife Yoko Ono (Yoko Ono; John Lennon, 1980).

She depicts the couple in an intimate embrace with a naked Lennon curled around fully clothed Ono. Annie requested them to be pose nude together; Ono refused to remove her clothes, but Lennon did not.
 
The clash between clothed woman and naked man subverts the conventional art historical canon which often exalts the nude female form. The image was taken a few hours before Lennon was shot outside his Upper West Side apartment by crazed fan Mark David Chapman.
 
It was first published on the cover of Rolling Stone in 1981, and would become iconic for its timing and the manner in which it immortalized the couple’s devotion to each other.

 

Vanity Fair

The year 1983; it was a huge risk for the famous rock photographer to move to a glossy mainstream magazine, Vanity Fair. During her 13 years tenure at the Rolling Stone her work interfered with her extensive drug use; she had overdosed twice and was rumoured to have hawked her photograph equipment to pay for cocaine.
 
After some time in rehabilitation, clear and good, Annie was ready to start a new chapter in her career. The timing was right; Annie became the first magazine’s chief photographer. Vanity Fair envisioned Leibovitz as a continuation of grand tradition of portraiture and also gave her full artistic freedom.
 
Unlike Rolling Stone, budgets at Vanity Fair were not a problem, and Leibovitz could be more experimental. Her portraiture work transitioned from simple black and white images to extravagant, rich colour staged production full of drama.

In 1987, Annie Leibovitz captured the Pop and graffiti artist Keith Haring naked and squatting on top of a coffee table with a surprised expression of his face; his entire body was painted, camouflaging him against the mural he painted (on the Salvation Army furniture and walls of the room).
 
Haring’s boldness and oneness with his work are made literal. The image also marks the beginning of Leibovitz’s transition to the more concept –driven and staged photography that would come to define her work; it was the beginning of the conceptual photography.

Susan

In 1989, Annie met Susan Sontag, a critic, writer and political activist, and the two developed a long lasting intimate relationship. They were partners in every sense. The intellectual writer was 16 years older than pop culture photographer, but the two complement each other’s strengths; Susan Sontag, a celebrated critic of media and photography, introduced new dimension to Leibovitz’s work, while Leibovitz introduced Sontag to the world of celebrity.
 
Annie admired Sontag despite the fact that she was interested in her work, but criticized it. Sontag could be tough on her at times, but Leibovitz attributes Sontag with helping her discover and seriousness and intellect in her photographs.

When actress Demi Moore was featured on the cover of Vanity Fair, in 1991, Leibovitz’s staged portraiture earned a reputation as being intentionally provocative. Wearing only a 33-carat diamond earrings and a ring, the seven months pregnant star stands in profile, one hand covers her breasts while the other tenderly cups her pregnant belly; the star proudly displays her naked body.

The cover image was seen as an unprecedented provocation from a mainstream publication the Culture Wars. When the issue was released, the backlash and controversy was immediate; the celebrity on a cover of a magazine, completely naked was considered obscene and grotesque.
 
The photograph started a nation-wide discussion on propriety, femininity, and what it meant to be a good mother. Critics deeming Moore unfit for motherhood for posing nude, while advocates celebrated her celebration of the natural state of pregnancy.
 
As a result of its controversy, the image has become one of the most iconic ones of the past two decades and was named as one of the most iconic images of all time by Time Magazine.

However, in the same year, Leibovitz had her first museum exhibition and became the first woman and second living photographer to show at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington D.C. A companion book Photographs: Annie Liebovitz 1970-1990 was published in 1991.

In 1992-1994, Annie traveled with Susan Sontag to Sarajevo to document Bosnia’s bloody war. The image “Fallen bicycle of teenage boy just killed by a sniper, 1994”, depicts the aftermath of the death of an innocent boy trapped in the midst of the conflict.
 
The picture of the bicycle and the blood was taken just after the boy on the bike had been hit by mortar that came down in front of the Leibovitz’s car. They put him in the car, but the boy died on the way to the hospital.
 
Annie documented the boy’s traumatic final moments; his absence is an unsettling reminder of the fragility of life.

Sarah

The early 2000s brought transformative shifts for Leibovitz. In 2001, at the age of 51, she gave birth to her first daughter, Sarah. During this time, Susan Sontag had been battling acute leukemia off and on, but in 2004, she learned that it had returned.
 
The same year Sontag succumbed to her illness a few days after Christmas. In addition, Annie’s father passed away from lung cancer a few weeks after Susan Sontag. Three years later, Leibovitz’s mother died, too.

Leibovitz was notoriously bad at managing money and her poor financial decisions culminated during the period of her mother’s death; she found herself $24 million dollars in debt. In order to pay the debt, she secured a large loan, using the right to her images as collateral.
 
When she was unable to pay back the loan, she was sued, and her work was jeopardized. After a legal battle, in which she filed for bankruptcy and sold numerous artworks and properties, eventually, she was able to pay the debt and regain the rights to her work.

Despite these difficulties, this period was also full of incredible highs for Leibovitz.

In 2000, she was deemed a Living Legend by the Library on Congress and awarded The Royal Photographic Society’s Centenary Medal and Honorary Fellowship. In 2009, Leibovitz began working on a personal project, photographing objects and places that were meaningful to her; the image were collected in the book named Pilgrimage, published in 2011.

In 2005, with the help of a surrogate, she was welcomed twin girls, whom she named Sam and Susan in honour of her father and her lover.

In 1995, Vanity Fair started the tradition of devoting its March issue to celebrating the stars deemed to have made an impact in film the previous year; Annie has photographed each issue. The grouping changes annually but Annie’s composition are strikingly similar; the cover images speak to glamour and elegance, but also the interchangeability and ephemerality of the industry and the careers of the subjects.
 
The relevance of the work of art is often not about what is reveals or exposes about the subject, but what it reveals about the cultural moment in which it was created.

Over the past four decades of her career, Annie Leibovitz has become one of the world’s best known portrait photographer, now rivaling the legacies of forebears like David Bailey and Richard Avedon.

A master of capturing popular culture icons in dramatic and innovative ways, Annie has become just as famous as the people she photographs.