Photographers


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Paulo and Andrew © Kris Graves

Words by Efrem Zelony-Mindell.

Kris Graves portrays color; color of light and color of flesh. The boundaries of his contemporaries expand a conversation of self, race and culture. Graves' men are of their parts; their eyes, their noses, their mouths. They are the hair on their heads, their clothes and jewelry, and the glasses resting on their ears. They are not idealized. They are documented. It is this blatant presentation that allows them to be human. It's not a photographic truth as much as it is honesty. Down to the the bone beyond the flesh Graves' photographs are deeper than stigmas or preconceived ideas. They tell a story that regardless of where you come from, each individual's part is universal. As is light. There is an interconnectivity that creates a sense of equality in the work and in its realization.

You can catch a solo exhibition of Graves' work in Cypress Hills, Brooklyn, opening on June 4th, 2016 at NorteMaar.

Find out more about the Testament Project here.

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Frank 

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The Artist 

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Keith 

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Jacob

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The Producer  

All images © Kris Graves

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© Adam Reynolds

Documentary photographer Adam Reynolds has focused his attention on the Middle East and here brings us a glimpse at the ubiquitous Israeli safety shelter.
 
"Since its creation in 1948, the State of Israel has felt itself isolated and beset by enemies seeking its destruction. This collective siege mentality is best expressed in the ubiquity of the thousands of bomb shelters found throughout the country. By law all Israelis are required to have access to a bomb shelter and rooms that can be sealed off in case of an unconventional weapons attack. There are over 10,000 public and private bomb shelters found throughout Israel and the Occupied Territories."

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I was reminded of stories about London in the Blitz - the London Underground was my parents' bomb shelter. No beauty treatments or couches down there. 

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Besides his photojournalist qualifications, Adam holds a Masters degree in Islamic and Middle East Studies. Smart!

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All images © Adam Reynolds

Also check out A Visual History of Arab Israeli Peace.
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"I'm a SAD GURL because I am a mermaid that has been stranded on land, and on top of that I'm being forced to "grow up" when that's clearly a terrible idea." - Annie © Sam Lichtenstein and Jess Williams // SAD GURLZ 

 On a cool Friday night in April, in Brooklyn, myself and a bunch of my photo cohorts gave up another evening for the greater photo cause - this time for ASMP's student reviews. There was a variety of photography to look at, and only 10 minutes to talk about it with each person so I was concerned when two youngsters sat down to be reviewed together. But Jess and Sam, aka the founders of the SAD GURLZ project, lit me up with their refreshing attitude, their confidence, their looks, and their collection of SAD GURLZ who have been invited to submit a statement about a particular reason they haz sad, and have some of their bits and pieces photographed. 
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"I'm a SAD GURL because my cognitive psych professor said that if aliens do come to visit, they'll kill us." - Haley

It can be tough reviewing students, especially when they are from all different schools and at different levels, with some not seeming to have been given any guidance. I was convinced during my first review that Taylor Swift must have been standing behind me as the young man's eyes wandered incessantly.
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"I'm a SAD GURL because I'm such a fangirl at heart but The Beatles and the Beach Boys broke up so I have nothing to take my top off for." - Paulina
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"I'm a SAD GURL because I want to go to Med School but I spend all of my time drinking Budweiser and sleeping with NYU frat boys." - Carlie

Jess and Sam seemed far from sad as they showed their book and beamed about their project. They are infectious and besides which, the series is an insight into the minds of today's young women. I have spent much time thinking what I would have said to them.
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"I'm a SAD GURL because love doesn't exist. It's not just sunshines and rainbows. It's all fucking heartbreak." Original SAD GURL Jess
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"I'm a SAD GURL because at this point, it's easier to be single than deal with fuckboys." Original SAD GURL Sam.

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Not so SAD! Jess and Sam © aCurator


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© Frédéric Moreau de Bellaing, 1995

 After making two trips to the West Bank twenty years apart, Belgian photographer Frédéric Moreau de Bellaing has collected his photographs into a book, titled "Lueurs d'espoirs / Glimmers of Hope." The book shows de Bellaing's travels through everyday life in both 1995 and 2015.

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The book includes an essay by Leila Shahid, Palestine ambassador in France and then Belgium for the last 20 years. 
Here is Frédéric's own statement:
"When I present this project, the same question comes back again and again: "Why Palestine?" Of course there is my indignation against oppression but, rightly, some respond to me that the Palestinians are not the only ones suffering. As often in this case, it is the personal journey that makes the difference.

The first intifada broke out in 1987. I was 16 years old. TV screens fed me up me with pictures of teenagers fighting with stones against heavily armed soldiers. I was shocked but the media release their floods of dramatic images all day long drowning indignations in an ocean of bad news.

Two years later when I began high school, I met Mina Shamieh. He was Palestinian and student like me. He was a warm person and his smile was disarming. We quickly became good friends. Until then, the Palestinian issue was but a media abstraction. Through my friendship with Mina, it took human shape.

The media feed us with pictures which are sometimes sensational but generally disconnected from human touch and identification to the Palestinian people has, for too long, take shape through empathy for their suffering.

To overcome this cathodic anesthesia, we must awaken the sympathy and empathy, in other words, we must become human.

With "Glimmers of Hope", I hope to convey the warmth and the desire to live which inhabit the Palestinian people.

To you, Mina, my old friend, with whom I have enjoyed sharing the small pleasures of everyday life."

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Above: images from 1995. All © Frédéric Moreau de Bellaing

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Images from 2015. All © Frédéric Moreau de Bellaing

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Slick Rick grabbing his crotch © Janette Beckman

This original photograph is by Janette Beckman. Beckman photographed Slick Rick in her studio in 1989. When your photographs become iconic, other, less talented artists attempt to hitch their wagon on to your artistry. Let it stand for the record: this is © Janette Beckman. Accept no substitutes.

Here is the only remix of her original Slick Rick photograph that Beckman has endorsed:

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Slick Rick © Janette Beckman was remixed by Morning Breath and is available as a limited edition print.

Now you can own a limited edition shiny version! Selling like the proverbial hotcakes over at 1xRUN are "10 x 20 Inches Archival Pigment Print on Satin Silver Aluminum Sheet." Go!! 

Here is the original contact sheet from the photo shoot:

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 © Janette Beckman 

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© Erika Huffman

Erika Huffman makes quietly beautiful, unfussy portraits. Sometimes with adults, sometimes with kids, always with peace. Until now, as she shatters the serenity with this portent of violence. 

aCurator fans know that it's unlikely for me to say this: Erika makes gorgeous photographs of her son. Check them. Also: Henriette.

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Warmth © Meggan Joy

We might all be taking photos of just about bloody everything, all the time, but not everyone then laboriously makes one story out of literally thousands of them. Meggan Joy embarked on a marathon digitization of her daily shots.

"A couple years ago I started to slowly collect individual pieces of the world around me. The orange placed before me for breakfast, I took a photograph before I ate it. The leftover flowers from a friend's wedding were quickly shot the day after. The empty nut found while walking my dog, captured and left in its place... I started pulling these images together into one single form. And after working on the project irregularly, in the early winter of 2016, I finished; almost 2 years after starting." Phew!

Please also check out Meggan's more serious project "She."

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© Nicholas Pollack

This is a sweet and gentle observation by Nicholas Pollack, a recent MFA grad whose project featured here, 'Nothing Gold Can Stay' was nominated for the 2016 ICP Infinity Award. He is also a contender for the upcoming Featureshoot Emerging Photographer Award.

"Nothing Gold Can Stay is a body of work about the fleetingness of youth. My photographs of the boys of Branch Brook Park in Newark, New Jersey describe this ephemerality, and through these photographs I intends to access a sense of memory and vulnerability to create an experience of love amid life's chaos and uncertainty."

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All images © Nicholas Pollack

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© Caroline Tompkins

Words by Efrem Zelony-Mindell.

Images play different roles in and of themselves as windows and even - dare I say - as individuals. If a photo can be individual - I think it can. The awareness of that window is important to each person who's looking. Caroline Tompkins and I chat at length about the hope that people might take that time with photography. "Here's a thing you need to see," she tells me, explaining the how of her photographs. Her images and language are interesting to interpret, as is she. The word demure may seem accurate at first but the truth is Tompkins has, well - balls. There's nerve in her, and within her reserve is an inquisitive and engaged fight. Not a fight of fists or words but one of reflective intellect and tenderness.

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© Caroline Tompkins

Tompkins has a different sensibility; it's probably something about Ohio where she's from, and a certain sort of projected quietness in her tone and her hands. Her photographs are beautiful in a noncritical way; they are absurd and situational. It would be easy for viewers to find themselves laughing with a Tompkins image. There is something intrinsically photographic happening in Tompkins imagery. It rouses a charming engagement of reflective and coy peculiarity. It's all very quaint at the surface; it's after those first few moments when you realize something deeper is engaging the imagery and the photos are not just pretty things, idealized places, and pretty people. 

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© Caroline Tompkins

There's time to reveal secrets and invent a good amount of trickery when traveling around with a camera. Tompkins' imagery has a lot to unmask and explore; her photographs are of getting away or moving on, from one place to another. They are wide and precious in scope but pressed with observation and hugely aesthetic. It isn't outwardly obvious, it is wonderfully seductive in its matter of factness. It's like breathing - she tells me she's always had a camera in her hands. Eight years old and taking pictures, she didn't so much have a lighting bolt moment that drew her to photography as much as she just always had this extra appendage. Tompkins knows the camera the way she knows herself.     

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© Caroline Tompkins

She, Tompkins, is a hard working lady. She is hugely respectful and strikes me as the type to go into the wilderness and leave only footprints. I don't mean to romanticize her; I mean to point out something hugely loving and human about the person who presses the eye to her camera. She reflects in her images as they speak back about her. The work doesn't get lost on Tompkins; the world she interacts with is important but there isn't a sense that she is her own subject. Caroline is far more interested in the everything and all around. Pieces and parts she photographs like a collector of unexpected bric-a-brac's of all kinds of wonderful odds and ends. There's a rhythm that reads like a hymn in her warm compositions. Elusive beyond what they literally are, the only thing they ask is a few more moments for your viewing pleasure.

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© Caroline Tompkins

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© Caroline Tompkins

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© Caroline Tompkins

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© Caroline Tompkins

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© Caroline Tompkins


918 by Santolo Felaco

Do something funky with your photos! This cheered me up on a dull day. Thanks to Italian artist Santolo Felaco for making me happy. (You might want to turn the volume down a smidgen.)

"The office is the place where many people spend at least a third of their day; where human relationships are established, anxiety developed, and the need to escape created. This photographic project took place in an office and in outdoor spaces adjacent to it. What results is an apparent altered representation of reality because the images do not directly describe the environment but they use a metaphorical language to tell what else lurks in regard to this microworld.

Each quadtych is made up of a combination of minimal pictures that are almost like words, they are linked to each other to compose a message. One of the objectives was to leave the viewer a lot of freedom of interpretation. Many quadtychs are designed and combined to communicate something specific, maintaining a polysemantic feature. I often played on the indoor and outdoor relationship, of what I call "the escape instinct": often you want to escape as soon as possible from the workplace, sometimes even just for a break. The office and the outside world that immediately surrounds it bind almost to form a continuous space. 

These and others are the issues dealt with, but I think I've already said too much, if I preferred words to pictures, I would have become a writer rather than a photographer."

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