Street & Studio and some stuff inbetween


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Harry Morey Callahan

Harry Morey Callahan was an American photographer and educator. He taught at both the Institute of Design in Chicago and the Rhode Island School of Design. Callahan’s first solo exhibition was at the Art Institute of Chicago in 1951. He had a retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 1976/1977. Wikipedia

‘Callahan was widely respected in the photography community for his open mind and experimental attitude, qualities reinforced by his association with Moholy-Nagy and the principles of Bauhaus design. He produced work in both formalist and more documentary modes, and worked in both black-and-white and color.’ https://www.icp.org/browse/archive/constituents/harry-callahan?all/all/all/all/0

Callaghan didn’t leave much notes or documentation about his methods but what is known is that he would go out daily and photograph his neighbourhood, the streets, buildings, and city scenes. He also photographed his wife and daughter, and much of his work was a response to his own life. He experimented with double and triple exposures and pushed the possibilities of photography.

WeeGee Arthur Fellig
Arthur (Usher) Fellig (June 12, 1899 – December 26, 1968), known by his pseudonym Weegee, was a photographer and photojournalist, known for his stark black and white street photography in New York City.[1]

Weegee worked in Manhattan’s Lower East Side as a press photographer during the 1930s and 1940s and developed his signature style by following the city’s emergency services and documenting their activity.[2] Much of his work depicted unflinchingly realistic scenes of urban life, crime, injury and death. Weegee published photographic books and also worked in cinema, initially making his own short films and later collaborating with film directors such as Jack Donohue and Stanley Kubrick. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weegee

Weegee was a self taught photographer who started out at age 14 and worked his way through various jobs before becomomng a press photographer for different publications before going freelance in 1935. He got permission to install a police radio in his car, and this allowed him to keep track of events as they happened and would often get to a sense before the police. His work appeared in the Herald-Tribune, Daily News, Post, the Sun, and PM Weekly. His style was one of stark shadows and contrast, and although he photographed NEw Yorks underbelly he had a style that included photographing other elements of a crime scene, whether it was the audience that gathered or little details that added interest-this meant he was both respected in popular media and fine art communities.
He published books notably ‘The Naked City’ (made into a noir movie multiple times),Weegee’s People (1946), and Naked Hollywood (1953).

Tseng Kwong Chi
Tseng was part of a circle of artists in the 1980s New York art scene including Keith Haring, Kenny Scharf, and Cindy Sherman.[2]

Tseng’s most famous body of work is his self-portrait series, East Meets West, also called the “Expeditionary Series”. In the series, Tseng dressed in what he called his “Mao suit” and sunglasses (dubbed a “wickedly surrealistic persona”[1] by the New York Times) and photographed himself situated, often emotionlessly, in front of iconic tourist sites. These included the Statue of Liberty, Cape Canaveral, Disney Land,[1] Notre Dame de Paris, and the World Trade Center.

Tseng also took tens of thousands of photographs of New York graffiti artist Keith Haring throughout the 1980s working on murals, installations and the subway.[3] In 1984, his photographs were shown with Haring’s work at the opening of the Semaphore Gallery East location in a show titled “Art in Transit”. Tseng photographed[when?] the first Concorde landing at Kennedy International Airport, from the tarmac.[1] According to his sister, Tseng drew artistic influence from Brassaï and Cartier-Bresson.Wikipedia

Samuel Fosso
Samuel Fosso (born July 17, 1962) is a Cameroonian-born Nigerian photographer who has worked for most of his career in the Central African Republic. His work includes using self-portraits adopting a series of personas, often commenting on the history of Africa. One of his most famous works of art, and what he is best known for, is his “autoportraits” where he takes either himself or other more recognizable people and draws them in a style of popular culture or politics.[1] He is recognized as one of Central Africa’s leading contemporary artists.[2]

He won the Prince Claus Award from the Netherlands in 2001. Wikipedia

Fossa is known for his “autoportraits” and pushing boundaries of portristiure-in this series he takes on the persona of different characters often challenging representational conventions including elements of history, politics and humour. He is recognized as one of Central Africa’s leading contemporary artists.

Diane Arbus

Diane Arbus was an American photographer. She photographed a wide range of subjects including strippers, carnival performers, nudists, people with dwarfism, children, mothers, couples, elderly people, and middle-class families. Wikipedia
I first came across Diane Arbus when I saw her image Identical Twins, as a parent of twins I was pulled into the image as it always bothered me that people referred to both my daughters as ‘the twins’. Arbus images, portraits, are of people on the fringes of society-taken at a time when it wasn’t hip and trendy to do so. This included cirsuc performers, transgender people, dwarfs,and the mentally ill. When looking at her images I find myself wondering how she developed rapport with her subjects. Somehow I’m never sure about her motivation as the images dont always translate into something sensitive e.g. A young Brooklyn family going for a Sunday outing, there is sometimes a feeling of voyeurism (definitely on part of the viewer) or even manipulation -but people trusted her enough to let her photograph them and images while sometimes disturbing can be very powerful.

Vivian Maier
Vivian Maier was an American street photographer whose body of work was only discovered after her death. Maier took over 150,000 photographs during her lifetime, capturing the people and architecture of Chicago on a Rolleiflex camera as she walked the city on her days off. Born on February 1, 1926 in New York, she moved to Chicago in 1956, working as a nanny for wealthy families in the North Shore neighborhood. Her work has been compared to Diane Arbus, Garry Winogrand, and Weegee, both for her spontaneous shooting style and for her fascination with human behavior. She died in Chicago on April 21, 2009, and two years before her death, a storage unit with her negatives, prints, audio recordings, and 8 mm film was auctioned to three separate buyers. One of them, John Maloof, began sharing a selection of Maier’s images in 2009 on his blog, generating significant public and critical interest. Maloof went on to produce an award-winning 2013 documentary about the elusive photographer, Finding Vivian Maier, as well as authoring the 2014 monograph Vivian Maier: A Photographer Found.Artnet
When looking at Maier’s images I cant help comparing them to Diane Arbus’s work. Softer and more sypmaththic, they document life in and around Chicago. Discovered posthumously one can help but look for clues about her in her work.
From the images of housewives,the homeless and poor, shadows and shopfronts, Maier captures the flow of everyday American life.

Ewing, William A, 2006, FACE The New Photographic Portrait, Thames & Hudson Ltd London


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