Photographers


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© Susanna Gaunt

aCurator has a wide open submission policy but I do not publish pictures of children, horses, dead birds or religious iconography. Usually.

Susanna Gaunt, a photographer based in Duluth, Minnesota, made me laugh aloud with a wry look at her kids, when we met over a portfolio reviewing table in New Orleans last December.

PhotoNOLA was good value for me and the attendees.

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All images © Susanna Gaunt

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Mikkel Aaland graced us previously with his fabulous county fair portraits from the 1970s. Here we share a momentous journey that he made in August 2013 traveling from Nepal, through western Tibet, to Mount Kailash. Mikkel weaves his own personal story, visa woes, and family history in with his typically honest imagery.

Mikkel has collected these into a book 'Pilgrimage to Kailash, Tibet's Holy Mountain' which you can buy from Blurb or get the iPad freebie through iTunes

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"My work is bit true 
but like a fairy story about myself."

Images by Christo Viola (NSFW)


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'Respecting My Elders - Age and the Creative Spirit' is Ellen Wallenstein's self-published book  (print ($25) and digital ($5) of wonderful portraits of 30 people over 80 years old who have affected the American culture. I took the easy route and asked for the women. 

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Photographer Editta Sherman (1912 - 2013) at 97 © Ellen Wallenstein
"I tried to improve my work each day, read books and photography magazines to become more proficient in my work. I have always been curious and interested in what's going on in the world. I enjoy conversing with other people who are creative also." (written to Wallenstein)

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Journalist Ruth Gruber (b. 1911) at 99 
Motivation: "The search for truth." Philosophy: "Never Retire!" Advice: "Let no obstacles stop you." (to Wallenstein)

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Author Bel Kaufman (b. 1911) at 100
"Words of wisdom? Words of common sense: Provided you are healthy (a huge proviso) you can have a long and interesting old age. The problems and insecurities of youth are in the past, children are grown and on their own, this is the time to do not what you always had to do but what you want to do. You can be creative, productive, helpful, even inspiring or simply content to be privileged to live in a world which is changing every day." (to Wallenstein)

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Actor and activist Judith Malina (b. 1926) at 84
"Tremble: your whole life is a rehearsal for the moment you are in now." (Quote)

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Author Francine duPlessix Gray (b. 1930) at 80
"We write out of revenge against reality, to dream and enter the lives of others." (Quote)

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Photographer Rosalind Solomon (b. 1930) at 80
"Artists must be in touch with life, create frame-works and find the freedom to express themselves within their personal structures. As long as I have eyes, ears, hands, feet and sanity, I will improvise and keep moving. I advise young artists to do the same. This is a matter of essence, not age." (to Wallenstein)

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Painter Lois Dodd (b. 1927) at 83
"Be stubborn and follow your own voice." (to Wallenstein)

 
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Photographer Rebecca Lepkoff (b. 1916) at 92
"Avoid trends. Think for yourself. Think of a project that you w ould like to concentrate on, and spend time developing it. Time passes. Will it be of interest 49 years from now?" (to Wallenstein)

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Designer Jeanyee Wong at 90
"If you love what you do, you get better at it.... The more you learn the more interesting life is." (to Wallenstein)

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Designer Eva Ziesel at 102
The pleasure of making things useful or beautiful involves your feelings as well as your thinking. When your original sketch evolves into a tangible, three-dimensional object, your heart is anxiously following the process of your work. And the love involved in making it is conveyed for those whom you made it." (Quote)

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Painter Sylvia Sleigh at 94
"What do you think about rivalry between women? It's divide and rule anyway. I mean if you set women against each other, then you're going to be able to dominate them much more than if they're together. You see our strength now is to love one another and appreciate one another and defend one another." (to Wallenstein)

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Pigeon Fright, Italy, 1956

'Europe in the Fifties. Through a Soldier's Lens' is a book of photographs by Bill Perlmutter, a soldier with the US army who traveled through Europe beginning in 1954. The photographs were presented for the first time earlier this year by the German house of seltmann+söhne who are thrilled to announce that the book just won silver in the prestigious Deutscher Fotobuchpreis. You can buy a copy of 'Europe in the Fifties' directly from them, for 40 Euros. Nice Christmas present if anyone's thinking of getting me something. 

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G.I. baby, Germany, 1955

"It all started in December 1954, when the then 27-year old soldier boarded a troop carrier to Germany, to start his new assignment as a photographer for the U.S. Army magazine. The first images from Perlmutter's Rolleiflex originated during the rough Transatlantic passage. Even though he had never left his home country and was a bit apprehensive about his future, Perlmutter was "looking forward to photographing Europe and visiting all those wonderful places that I had read about and seen in the movies." 

Almost 60 years after the images were conceived, they clearly document the photographer's sense of the special moment. Every single image becomes a lively piece in the puzzle of remembrance, reporting accurately on the historical period, but also capturing very personal encounters. His insightful work has a long lasting effect, way and allows those pictures to come alive. Again and again. Even after all those many years."

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Street Musicians, Paris, 1955

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Woman Reading in the Park, Paris, 1956

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Open Wide, Germany, 1955

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A Kiss on the Hand, Paris, 1956

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Man With Dark Glasses, Italy, 1956

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Bill Perlmutter was born in New York on September 5, 1932. He began his career with a Bachelor of Arts in Motion Picture Techniques from the City College Film Institute in New York. In 1954 after graduating from the United States Army Photography School, he spend two years in Europe as a staff photographer for the U.S. Army newspapers based in West Germany. Since then he traveled extensively all around the world as a free-lance photographer. From 1978-1997 he worked as the Vice President of Rainbow Chromes, a company specializing in photographic and digital retouching.

Many thanks to seltmann+söhne for providing such great images for press. Glück!
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Facade © Xiang-Yun Chen

Xiang-Yun Chen was born and raised in China, and is now living in New York. 'Package from Home' is a nicely-executed, easy-to-consume, perfectly-encapsulated photo project, to which many of us can relate - especially in NYC where about 1 in every 2 of us claims to be an ex-pat.

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Mum's favorite soup

Chen tells the story: "In the summer of 2011, during my cousin's pregnancy, we got a package from home, which was filled with various necessities for her puerperal period. Not long after that, one night, I had a dream. I am not the type of person who dreams very often. In the dream, two of my front teeth fell out with the teeth in my hand, unceasing tears flying away,  I recalled the doctor told me a couple of months ago in reality that if I didn't do a full examination of my left eye, and know what the problem is, I might lose my vision forever. So I started running, running, until the tears washed me back into the reality."

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Still Life with Herb and Plastic Bag

"I would not have this project if I hadn't opened the package after I had the dream. When I was unsealing it, it wasn't the act of opening an almost smashed box, but the feeling that was unfolding my memories, all the emotions, happiness, past, sadness, all the connections that I had with my family and homeland. I wanted to break the geometry boundary between my small family in America and big family in my country. Adding the props from the house in the U.S. allows me to live in the imagination that we are still together, nothing can cut off the root, and we are tangled up as a family until it doesn't matter whether it is the transient moment or longer than that."

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Uprooted

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Stil Life with Hair, Garlic,Ginseng
All images © Xiang-Yun Chen

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David Zimmerman has been working in India for the past two years on a series of beautiful portraits of Tibetan refugees and nomads, large-scale prints from which are on show at Sous les Etoiles Gallery in Soho, New York, through November 30th, 2013.

David says: "Much of my work for the past fifteen years focuses on issues of human survival, and adaptation in the aftermath of catastrophic events. The causes of these events are varied - from economic hardship in the southwest US, to the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, to northern India where 100,000 Tibetans have fled Chinese occupation."

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"I have lived and worked in India for many years, and this past year, along with my wife, founded the Himalayan Art Centre - a free school teaching photography and visual storytelling to underserved regions of the southern Himalayas. The Art Centre in north India will also serve as a meeting and workshop space for visual artists and writers from around the world."

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All images © David Zimmerman

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I really like these new images from Patrick Fraser, whose series 'Parada' I published earlier this year. Wanting to shoot something other than people, for a change, Patrick worked with a food stylist, Maggie Ward, to set up the fun, fresh photos. Using large format film he photographed them once, then left them in his garage for six months before shooting them again with the same set-up. 

"Ultimately I was just making a metaphor for life and time passing in a simple photographic essay."

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All images © Patrick Fraser

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It's a year or so since I first heard from Brendan Barry and I was thrilled to get this update on his motel rooms. Not content with a set of deeply uncanny photos, Brendan is taking the images to a different level. Inspired by the American short story, he reached out to some writers who have influenced him and is now collaborating with author Jeff Parker on a book of photographs accompanied by fantastic tales. Let's hope it's on the shelves soon.

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All images © Brendan Barry

'Motel 6, Utah'

Motels and hotels. What difference does a single beginning consonant imply?
As an adult, there is a simple answer: A hotel is where you want to be. A motel is where you are at.
The best motel has a pool. I have been going to the motel pool for near to thirty years now looking, probably, for some brunette-haired girl who I met at a motel pool thirty years ago when my grandparents took me to Disney World and left me play with her, thinking it an all-innocent kids thing when even then it wasn't exactly that.
This motel does not have a pool.
This motel has a window in the door.
That is the level of excitement on which this motel is operating.
But I am good with that. I am right with that. I am fine with that. Right fine with that level of excitement. In the disappointment of wrong brunette-headed girls in my life, I have come to be right fine with a room with or without a view. A motel with or without a pool. A sheet to pull back. A TV to light my path to the bathroom.

'Clean Rooms, Low Rates'
Photos: Brendan Barry
Stories: Jeff Parker

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