Yuris Nórido Ruiz Cabrera and Lester Vila Pereira

Photography by Nórido and Vila

Initiated in 2011, Nórido and Vila is a photographic collaboration between Cuban photographers Yuris Nórido Ruiz Cabrera and Lester Vila Pereira. Their oeuvre explores portraiture, fine art, architectural, and theater and dance photography.

Born in Violeta, Ciego De Ávilavila, Yuris Nórido is a journalist and a photographer who currently lives and works in Havana. He attended IPVCE Ignacio Agramonte in Ciegode Ávila and studied  Social Communication and Journalism at the University of Havana. As a journalist, Nórido wrote for various publications, including Periodico Trabajadores, Portal Cubasi, and Noticiero Cultural. He is currently a professor at Havana’s University of Arts of Cuba.

Born in Santa Clara, Lester Pereira is an author and photographer who currently writes articles on culture, communication technology, and media for the online On Cuba News. He studied at the University of Havana and worked with the National Ballet of Cuba. In addition to his writing and photography, Pereira is press director for the Acosta Dance Company which performs both ballet and contemporary dance.

The Nórido and Vila website contains an extension library of their photographic work and can be found at: https://noridoyvila.wordpress.com

Lester Vila Pereira’s site can be found at: https://www.facebook.com/lester.vilapereira

Yuris Nórido Ruiz Cabrera ’s site can be found at: https://www.facebook.com/Yuris-Nórido-Fotograf%C3%ADa-344685632312078/?ref=page_internal

Top Insert Image: Yuris Nórido and Lester Vila, “Mario Sergio Elías, Dancer”, 2018

Bottom Insert Image: Yuris Nórido and Lester Vila, “Javier Castillo”, Atrapado Series, 2018

Manuel Scrima and Paolo Rutigliano, “Ariel Ben-Attar”

Manuel Scrima and Paolo Rutigliano, “Ariel Ben-Attar”, 2020 Exclusive Photo Shoot for Homotography Magazine

Manuel Scrima is an Italian-Belgium photographer, artist and director who is based in Milan. His works, inspired by both classical and neoclassical art, draw upon the techniques of light and shadow used by the Dutch master painters to create the warm intimacies typical of their work. 

As a youth, Scrima’s earliest exposure to art was the mysterious paintings of Belgian symbolist painter Fernand Khnopff, whose works would form a major influence on the collective work of Gustav Klimt. Later influences on Scrima’s photography included the work of Keith Haring, the pop art works of Andy Warhol, and the marble figurative sculptures of the Italian Renaissance.

Manuel Scrima spent years living among the tribal peoples of Africa’s Rift Valley in the countries of Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, and South Sudan. His interaction with these cultures resulted in photographic series that deeply examined their cultural identity, the basic foundations of their lives, and their exposure and interaction with the expanding modern globalization. 

A pivotal point in Scrima’s career was his 2006 photographic exhibition “Africa Awakens”, a well-received and successful show by critics and the public. The exhibition was in support of two international non-government organizations in Kenya, The International Community for the Relief of Starvation and The New World International, which combats child poverty, provides clean water, malaria prevention, and intervention in HIV and AIDS. The show toured museums and galleries in England, Ireland, France, Finland, Italy and Kenya. Due to his work in Africa, Scrima was appointed by UNESCO as the artist to exhibit and celebrate the culture of Kenya.

Paolo Rutigliano is an art director and photographer known for his work in the fashion world. He has done multiple shoots for Homotography, Kaltblut Magazine, and Desnudo Magazine, among others. Rutigliano’s fashion shoot with model Anilton Cabral was featured in the October 2020 issue of Desnudo Magazine.

Born in September of 1995, Ariel Ben-Attar is an Israeli international model who lives and works from Tel Aviv. As a competitive fitness model, he received the name Mr. Israel.

Manuel Scrima’s website can be found at: https://www.manuelscrima.com, Images and contact information for Paolo Rutigliano can be found at his Instagram site: https://www.instagram.com/paolorutigliano/?hl=en

Russell Lee

The Photography of Russell Lee

Born to an affluent mid-western family in Ottawa, Illinois, in July of 1903, Russell Werner Lee was an American photographer and photojournalist, who is best known for his work during the years of the Great Depression. He attended the Culver Military Academy in Indiana and studied at Lehigh University in Bethelem, Pennsylvania, where in 1925 he earned his degree in Chemical Engineering. Lee obtained a position at the chemical company Certainteed Products where he worked as a plant chemist making roofing materials. 

Dissatisfied with his job and secure financially due to inherited property, Lee began experimenting in 1935 with a small Contax 35mm camera and darkroom printing. His earliest photographs were taken in the artist colony at Woodstock, New York, and later in Pennsylvania during visits with friends. It was during these visits that Lee shot a series of images depicting the working and living conditions of coal miners who toiled inside small bootleg mines in Pennsylvania. In the winter of 1935, Lee wandered the streets of New York where he photographed the poverty around him. He also shot a series of images in New York City of the evangelist Father Divine who arrived with a large group of his followers for an event.

Russell Lee’s interest in social issues and his use of photography to document social conditions brought him into contact with several social-realist  artists, among whom were photographer and lithographer Ben Shahn and film maker Pare Lorentz, whose films documented the New Deal. Through his association with Ben Shahn, Lee became involved with the documentation program of the Historical Division of the Resettlement Administration. This program, later renamed the Farm Security Administration, assessed the effects of government programs during the Great Depression era. 

Along with team members Arthur Rothstein, Dorothea Lange, and Walker Evans, Lee documented the plight of tenant farmers, migrant workers and sharecroppers suffering from drought and financial distress. He was assigned by his team leader Roy Stryker, an economist and photographer, to travel throughout the Midwest and West Coastal areas of the United States; some of Lee’s best known early photographs were those taken in rural Iowa in 1936. During his travels for the FSA, he produced iconic studies of the people living in San Augustine, Texas in 1939 and the small rural Pie Town, New Mexico in 1949. During the 1940s, Lee’s images appeared in many popular journals including Life, Fortune, U.S. Camera, and Look magazine.

In the spring and summer of 1942, Russell Lee was one of several government photographers to document the forced relocation of Japanese Americans from the west coast. He produced over six hundred images of families waiting for their travel arrangements and their ensuing daily lives in the detention facilities. With the defunding of the Farm Security Administration in 1943, Lee joined the Army’s Air Transport Command as a captain. He was assigned to take aerial surveillance photographs, including air field approaches used to supply the troops, as well as documentary images of local conditions on the ground.

In 1946 and 1947, Lee worked for the Department of the Interior and helped to compile a survey and document with images the communities involved in mining bituminous coal. He created over four thousand photographs of miners and the working conditions inside the coal mines. In 1946, Lee produced a series of photographs on a Pentecostal Church of God in a coal camp in Kentucky. In 1947, he moved to Austin, Texas, where he continued his photographic work.

In 1965, Russell Lee became the first instructor of photography at Austin’s University of Texas where he taught until 1973. In the latter part of his life, he often traveled as a photographer on assignment for various magazines and corporations, the University of Texas, and the federal government. The state of Texas became a major focus of his work until his death, at the age of eighty-three, in August of 1986. 

Russell Lee’s works are held in the collections of the University of Louisville in Kentucky, the New Mexico Museum of Art in Santa Fe, the Wittliff Collections of Texas State University in San Marcos, and the Dolph Briscoe Center of American History in Austin, among others. Over nineteen thousand images taken by Russell Lee are housed in the Photography Archive of the Library of Congress in Washington DC.

Note: For those interested, I recommend Professor of History Emeritus F. Jack Hurley’s September 1973 article on Russell Lee, originally published in IMAGE: Journal of Photography and Motion Pictures of the International Museum of Photography at the George Eastman House. This extensive biography, containing many quotes by Lee, is located at the online art and humanities site “American Suburb X” :  https://americansuburbx.com/2010/02/theory-f-jack-hurley-on-russell-lee.html

Top Insert Image: Photographer Unknown, “Russell Werner Lee”, Date Unknown

Second Insert Image: Photographer Unknown, “Russell Lee Taking Photo of Children”, Date Unknown

Third Insert Image: Russell Lee, “Perry Drugs Store”, Date Unknown

Bottom Insert Image: Russell Lee, “Shoeshine Boy, San Antonio, Texas”, 1949, Russell Lee Photograph Collection University of Texas at Austin

Hervé Lassïnce

The Photography of Hervé Lassïnce

Hervé Lassïnce is a French theatrical actor, screen writer, and self-taught photographer who grew up in Créteil, a culturally diverse suburb of Paris. Before he pursued his passion for photography, he had begun a career as a theatrical actor, a talent which he still continues. Lassïnce has performed with actors Jérôme Deschamps and Macha Makeîff and, in 2016, appeared in a Jean-Michel Ribes play at Paris’s Théâtre du Rond-Point.

Lassïnce began his career in photography with images of those closest to him, his family, friends and lovers. The strong emotional connection he had with these subjects, displayed in his initial work, is still evident in his most recent photographs. Generally, Lassïnce prefers to photograph subjects he knows as the sense of familiarity is stronger; however, he often photographs people he meets who catch his attention. As he considers his photography a story of friendship, Lassïnce still makes an effort to know his subject better before attempting the composition of the shoot.

Hervé Lassïnce photographs natural landscapes, an example of which is his large format photograph of water rushing over the cliffs of Niagara Falls. For many of his photographs, however, natural scenes serve as settings for his nude male subjects. In these shoots, Lassïnce presents natural and joyful images that show men as ordinary people comfortable in their skin. There exists in most of his nude compositions an unexpected, often curious, element that catches the eye and draws the viewer’s interest, such as tinted lighting, vased flowers, lit cell phones, or a cat sitting quietly nearby. 

Lassïnce first began showing his work through Facebook and Instagram. After seeing images of his work printed on fine art paper, he began to exhibit in galleries and sell editions to collectors. In 2015, Lassïnce’s first photography collection was published by Florian Gaité, entitled “Mes Fréres (My Friends)”. At this time, he also expanded his work as a freelance photographer by shooting personality portraits and illustrating articles for magazines. 

Among the influences on his work, Hervé Lassïnce has listed the work of American photographer Nam Goldin who became known for her exploration of the lives and intimacies within the LGBT subcultures. He was also influenced by the compositions and homo-eroticism in works by such painters as José de Ribera, Caravaggio, and Théodore Géricault, one of the pioneers of France’s Romantic movement.

Lassïnce’s photography has been the subject of several exhibitions including those at Paris’s Galerie P38 and Galerie Agathe Gaillard; the November 2020 exhibition at Villa Noailles in Hyères, France; the International Festival of Fashion and Photography in Los Angeles; the Offarch Gallery in Milan; the Philharmonie de Paris; and the 2021 “Gallery of Instant Love” exhibition at the Design Museum of London. 

Hervé Lassïnce’s website, which includes contact information and purchasable prints, can be found at https://h-photography.format.com

McDermott & McGough

McDermott & McGough, “If You Had Been the Moon”, April 2009, 10:16, Directed by Peter Mc  Gough, Starring Michael  Kavalus, Bryan Deckhart, Claybourne Elder, Christopher Le Rude, Alex Michael Stoll, and Andrew Lord

The art collective McDermott & McGough consists of the contemporary artists David McDermott and Peter McGough who are known for their work in sculpture, painting, film and photography. Their work examines such issues as religion, popular culture and art, medicine, advertising, fashion, and sexual behavior. McDermott and McGough are best known for their gay-themed paintings and the use of historical processing techniques in their photographic work, which includes film development with palladium, gum bichromate, salt, platinum, and carbon black.

Born in Hollywood, California in 1952, David McDermott studied at Syracuse University in New York from 1970 to 1974. He moved to New York City where he became famous in the downtown area for his odd manners and outdated formalwear, such as detachable collars, cummerbunds, and top hats. Born in Syracuse in 1958, Peter McGough studied at Syracuse University in 1976. He relocated to New York City where he briefly studied at the Fashion Institute of Technology. After dropping out from the Institute, McGough was employed to sell tickets at Danceteria, a famous, albeit illegal, nightclub with several locations in the city.

Peter McGough met David McDermott in a Manhattan theater at the end of the 1970s. As David kept Peter company during the early club hours before sunrise, a strong relationship developed between them  that also included an artistic alliance which would last forty years. In the 1980s, the gay couple became known in New York’s East Village art scene for their immersion in the Victorian era. McDermott and McGough questioned the ideas of nostalgia; they pursued an art form and lifestyle narrative of reorienting the past for the future. Dressed and living as early 1900s dandies with an air of erudition and impertinence, their lives and art became an exploration of time and history, as well as, a challenge to the boundaries of art history and cultural identity.

McDermott and McGough’s collaborative output was expressed through a proliferation of drawings, paintings, film and photographs, and architectural interiors. Their photographs and films, which appropriated images and objects from the late 19th century to the style of the 1930s, explored contemporary cultural issues but produced them through vintage materials and techniques. McDermott and McGough’s obsession with the past is reflected in the styles and subjects they resurrect; many of their works are titled with fictional dates that reference the latter years of the 1800s. 

The later work of McDermott and McGough was inspired by advertising motifs, Hollywood cinema, and the comic books of the 1950s and 1960s. They reinvented major works of twentieth-century photography, Pop Art icon images, and produced photo-realistic paintings of vintage film stars. During the 1980s when their work was selling well, McDermott and McGough were a major part of the downtown New York scene, where the attended clubs and mingled with Keith Haring, Jean-Michel Basquiat, and Andy Warhol. They bought three properties including a 1860s French Second Empire style bank, owned horses and vintage automobiles, hosted lavish baroque parties, and bestowed expensive gifts to friends.

 In 1992, the art market began to feel the effects of the stock market crash of October 1987. Out of all the paintings McDermott and McGough had on  exhibit at the Armory Show, only one small painting sold. Their debts, which included framing costs for their exhibitions, came due; many of these debts were paid through the transfer of their existing artwork to galleries and other debtors, among whom was the Internal Revenue Service. Eventually everything the couple had was auctioned off except for a few pieces they managed to save and later shipped to the docks of Dublin, Ireland. David McDermott relocated to a small  rental house near Ballsbridge, Ireland, and in 1995 McGough reunited with him. 

McDermott and McGough started painting and soon were able to rent a small art studio in Temple Bar in downtown Dublin. Through Swiss art dealer and gallery owner Bruno Bischofberger, they received many silhouette commissions. With the assistance of the gallery’s director Andrea Caratsch, McDermott and McGough had an exhibition in 1998 entitled “The Lust That Comes from Nothing” at Paris’s Galerie Jérôme de Noirmont.

McDermott and McGough’s previous exhibitions include the Whitney Biennial, New York, in 1987, 1991 and 1995, and a mid-career retrospective at the Provincial Museum voor Moderne Kunst, Oostende, Belgium. In 2017, their work was the subject of the exhibition “I’ve Seen the Future and I’m Not Going’ held at the Dallas Contemporary Museum in Texas. Other solo and group exhibitions include such institutions as the Irish Museum of Modern Art in Dublin, Centre Pompidou in Paris, New York City’s Galleria Gian Enzo Sperone, and the Frankfurter Kunstverein in Germany. 

McDermott and McGough’s work is represented in numerous collections including the International Center of Photography in New York; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art; Spencer Museum of Art at the University of Kansas in Lawrence; Tampa Museum of Art in Florida; Minneapolis’s Walker Art Center; and Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, among others.

Notes: In 2017, David McDermott and Peter McGough opened the Oscar Wilde Temple, a non-secular sacred space for LGBTQ people in a chapel at the Church of the Village located in New York City’s Greenwich Village. It is both an art exhibition space and a place for marriages; donations go to homeless LBGTQ youth. A second location at the gallery Studio Voltaire in London was opened in October of 2018.

In 2019, Peter McGough published his memoir “I’ve Seen the Future and I’m Not Going There” through Penquin Random House. Set in New York’s Lower East Side, the memoir chronicles his life withDavid McDermott during the 1980s and mid-1990s.

Top Insert Image: David McDermott and Peter McGough, “Portrait of the Artists, 1928, 1990”, Palladium Print on Paper, 35 x 26.5 cm, Private Collection

Second Insert Image: David McDermott and Peter McGough, “Love is Gone- So What Can Matter? 1966, 2008”, Oil on Linen, 152.4 x 122.2 cm, Private Collection

Third Insert Image: McDermott and McGough, “Joel at Lower Baldonell House, Dublin, 1910, 2003”, Palladium Print on Paper, 50.8 x 40.6 cm, Private Collection

Fourth Insert Image: McDermott and McGough, “The Annointed”, 1991, Photographers and Friends Against AIDS Exhibition, Palladium Print on Paper, 16.5 x 11.8 cm, Private Collection

Fifth Insert Image: McDermott and McGough, Title Unknown (Reading Comics), Image from the “Detroit, 1958” Series,  2007, Carbro Print, Private Collection

Bottom Insert Image: McDermott and McGough, “Portrait of the Artist (With Top Hats) 1865”, 1991, Palladium Print on Paper, Collection of the Artists

Tim Tadder

The Photography of Tim Tadder

Born in Baltimore in 1972, Tim Tadder is an internationally acclaimed photographic artist known for his highly inventive, conceptual advertising photography. The son of a commercial photographer, his interest in photography developed at an early age through watching his father develop images in his Baltimore studio.

Tadder earned his Bachelor of Science in Mathematics from The College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. He was a high school educator in Costa Rica for five years and, on summer breaks, would take photographs during his mountaineering adventures. Deciding to concentrate on a career in photography, Tadder returned to Baltimore where he had connections in the photography world and worked from his father’s studio as a photojournalist for the local newspaper.

After working for two years in Baltimore, Tim Tadder studied  at Ohio University’s School of Visual Communication and graduated with his Masters of Fine Art in Photojournalism. He did freelance work as a photojournalist in Baltimore, Colorado and San Diego. In 2005, Tadder began his career in commercial and editorial photography. The prestigious Luezer Archive Magazine has for eight consecutive years ranked Tadder in the top two-hundred photographers worldwide. Epson, the world leader in photographic printing technology, recognized him in 2015 as one of the top influential photographers.

Skilled in both video and still photography, Tadder’s preference is to make communicative images through still photography. He consumes images from multiple medias, including movies and art, in an effort to seek those concepts which have not yet been visualized. Tadder enters his photo shoots with an already conceived mental image of the finished product; he then works with his team through multiple techniques and experiments to bring the concept to fruition.  

Tim Tadder’s finished work is mainly untouched images captured by his camera; a smaller section of his work is later enhanced by computer graphic imagery. Tadder’s larger shoots , such as the calendar project for the Tecate brand of Mexico’s Cuauhtémoc brewery , required weeks of production work, both before and after the shoot. Inspiration for a shoot comes from many sources. His Bella Umbrella project was a theatrical photogaphic production inspired by images seen on Instagram. The shoot involved models carrying umbrellas to which active smoke bombs had been attached. Multiple approaches to the concept were required before the final product was acceptable.

Intrigued by the Day of the Dead celebrations that occurred in southern California, Tadder created a set of images that paid homage to this cultural event celebrated in many countries. He shot the images both on location and in the studio. Tadder used four female models to represent each of the seasons and set them in the appropriate seasonal backgrounds. The images set in landscapes represent the dead’s return for the day; while the indoor studio shots allow the viewers to examine the skeletal face masks, costumes, and backgrounds.

Tim Tadder currently lives with his family in South California and is the CEO of Tim Tadder Stills + Motion, based in Solana Beach, California. His website is located at: https://www.timtadder.com

Cecil Beaton

The Photography of Cecil Beaton

Born in January of 1904 in the Hampstead area of London, Sir Cecil Walter Hardy Beaton was a British portrait, fashion and war photographer. He was also a painter, an interior designer and a designer of stage set and costumes, for which he received two Academy Awards.

Cecil Beaton was the eldest of four children born to Ernest Beaton, a prosperous timber merchant and amateur actor, and Esther Sisson, the daughter of a Cumbrian blacksmith. His primary education was at Heath Mount School in rural Hertfordshire, where he was recognized for both his singing and artistic talent. Beaton received his initial instruction in photography and film development from his governess. When he considered his work acceptable, he sent photos to London society magazines under a pseudonym.

Beaton attended the prestigious Harrow School in Greater London and then entered St. John’s College at Cambridge, where he studied history, art and architecture. He continued his photographic work during his college years. Beaton, never having a strong interest in academia, left Cambridge without a degree in 1925. After a short period in the family’s timber business, he left and concentrated on a career in his main interest, photography. After a period of study under one of London’s youngest photographers Paul Tanqueray, Beaton set up his own studio in London. 

Through the patronage of English author and poet Osbert Sitwell, Cecil Beaton had his first photography exhibition at London’s Cooling Gallery at Southampton Row. This successful show in 1927 established him as one of the leading fashion and portrait photographers of his generation. Beaton was soon hired as a staff photographer for Vanity Fair magazine and both the American and British editions of Vogue magazine. He developed a style of portraiture where the sitter was merely one element of an overall decorative pattern, dominated by backgrounds of unusual materials. In addition to his fashion  and society work, Beaton traveledd to the United States and began to photograph many celebrities in Hollywood. 

Beaton’s celebrity portraits had a sparse composition and a sensual directness that in essence freed his subjects from their respective eras. Devoted to the social scenes he lived in and passionate for his individual subjects, Beaton was committed to capturing their charisma on film. Among the celebrities he photographed were the solemn looking, plain dressed Gary Cooper in 1931, Greta Garbo at the Plaza Hotel in 1946, and the boyish-looking Truman Capote in 1948. Beaton also took many portraits of the English and foreign elite, including Lady Diane Cooper, Winston Churchill, Caroline of Monaco, and Charles de Gaulle. He also shot a portrait of the young Queen Elizabeth in 1939 and in 1953, photographed her daughter Elizabeth II on her Coronation Day.

During World War II, Cecil Beaton served in the British Ministry of Information, as a leading war photographer covering the fighting in Africa and East Asia. During this period his style sharpened and the compositional range of his photographs widened. Beaton’s photographs taken during the the siege of Britain were published in 1942 in a collection entitled “Winged Squadrons”. After the war, he continued his portrait photography; his style however had mellowed due to his war experience and became less flamboyant. Beaton broadened his work at this time and began to design costumes and sets for both film and theater productions. 

One of Beaton’s first designs for the Broadway stage was a 1946 revival of Oscar Wilde’s comedy “Lady Windermere’s Fan” for which he designed costumes, sets, and lighting. In 1956, he designed costumes for the stage production of Lerner and Loewe’s “My Fair Lady”. The success of Beaton’s work led to designs for two of Lerner and Loewe film musicals, the 1958 “Gigi” and the 1964 “My Fair Lady”, each of which earned Beaton an Academy Award for Best Costume Design. For his many Broadway design works, he was the recipient of four Tony Awards. Beaton also designed sets and costumes for the New York’s 1961 Metropolitan Opera and London’s 1963 Covent Garden productions of Puccini’s “Turandot”.

In 1947, Cecil Beaton leased the historic Georgian manor Ashcombe House in Wiltshire after a visit accompanied by sculptor Stephen Tomlin and writer Edith Olivier. He employed architect Michael Rosenauer to make substantial renovations and alterations to the manor. At Ashcombe House, Beaton lavishly entertained such guests as Welsh painter and etcher Augustus John, English aristocrat Lady Diane Cooper, actress Tallulah Bankhead, artist Salvador Dali, and fashion illustrator Christian Bérard. In 1948, Beaton designed a fabric, still used among designers today, which he named “Ashcombe Stripe” after the manor. In 1947, Beaton bought Reddish House in Broad Chalke where he remained until his death.

In his personal life, Beaton had relationships with various men, including his two great loves, British arts patron Peter Watson and American art historian Kin Hoitsma, who was also a former Olympic fencer. He also had relationships with women, including Greta Garbo, the dancer Adel Astaire, and socialite Doris Castlerosse. In 1972, Beaton received the state honor of being knighted at the New Years Honors. Two years later, he suffered a stroke that paralyzed his right side. Although he adapted to the condition and continued his photographic work, Beaton became anxious about his financial security. Philippe Garner of Sotheby’s acquired Beaton’s archive, excluding work of the Royal Family and that held by Vogue, and oversaw its preservation and partial dispersal, which allowed Beaton an annual income.

Cecil Beaton’s health faded by the end of the 1970s. He died in January of 1980, four days after his seventy-sixth birthday, at his home in Broad Chalke; he is buried in the nearby churchyard. Beaton’s work has been shown in many exhibitions and retrospectives over the years, including at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington DC and the Imperial War Museum in London, among others.

Note: An interesting article to read would be Sooanne Berner’s “Ten Things You Might Not Know About Cecil Beaton” located at the online magazine “AnOther” : https://www.anothermag.com/art-photography/10296/ten-things-you-might-not-know-about-cecil-beaton

Top Insert Image: Photographer Unknown, “Cecil beaton in Sandwich, England”, circa 1920s, Gelatin Silver Print, Cecil Beaton Studio Photos, Sotheby’s

Second Insert Image: Curtis Moffat, “Cecil beaton”, circa 1930, Gelatin Silver Print, Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Third Insert Image: Photographer Unknown, “Cecil Beaton and Gary Cooper, 1931, Gelatin Silver Print

Fourth Insert Image: Photographer Unknown, “Cecil Beaton and Stephen Tennant”, 1927, National Portrait Gallery, London

Bottom Insert Image: Jack Mitchell, “Cecil Beaton”, 1963, Silver Gelatin Print, Getty Images

Thanh Vuong

The Photography of Thanh Vuong

Based in Melbourne, Thanh Vuong is a Vietnamese-Australian photographer who specializes in photographing the male body in natural landscapes with natural light. Born in Saigon, Vietnam, he emigrated at a very young age with his family to Australia. In 2017, Vuong earned his Bachelor of Arts in Photography from Melbourne’s Photography Studies College where he studied under the tutelage of photographers Daniel Boetker-Smith, the director of the Asia-Pacific Photobook Archive, and Hoda Afshar, an Iranian photographer known for her black and white documentary work.

Vuong’s projects explore the themes of gender politics and the representation of queer identities, masculinity and the male form. Among the photographers he considers major influences on his work are such artists as German photographer Wilhelm von Gloeden, known for his pastoral nude studies accomplished with photographic filters of Sicilian boys; photojournalist William Eugene Smith, an important figure in the development of editorial photo essays; portraitist George Platt Lynes, best known for his Hollywood portraits and male nudes; and George Dureau, whose career was most  notable for his charcoal sketches and black and white photographs of vulnerable and marginalized individuals.

In 2017, Thanh Vuong shot his series “In My Garden, the Trees Are Changing”, which centered on theme of male beauty and desire. The images presented an imaginary utopia of lush gardens and ethereal light in which gay men are free from prejudice, judgement and injustice. This series was awarded the Leica and Ilford Excellence in Photomedia Award at Melbourne’s 2017 Summer Salon held at the Centre for Contemporary Photography. It also won multiple awards in the same year at both state and national level from the Australian Institute of Professional Photography. The success of Vuong’s series led to another solo exhibition at the end of 2021 held at the Paddington Reservoir Gardens in Paddington, Australia.

Vuong’s 2017 series “(Not) Blue” was shortlisted for the Australian Photographer of the Year held by Capture Magazine. Vuong was a finalist in the British Journal of Photography’s first OpenWalls competition held in Arles, France, in 2019. His photo “A River That Flows From Eden”, depicting a nude couple lying at water’s edge, placed third in the 2021 Monovisions Photography Awards.

Thanh Vuong is currently represented by Boys!Boys!Boys, an initiative of the Little Black Gallery in London. Images of his work can be seen at the Boys!Boys!Boys site located at: https://boysboysboys.org/search?q=vuong

“I see photography as an extension and expression of my sexual identity and a way to start an honest and open conversation. As I developed my technique, the way I approach the body in my work has also evolved. Now it is no longer just an autonomous specimen understood as an exhibition of manhood, but a means through which I can delicately express some of the problems that affect the current queer community.” – Thanh Vuong, Interview with Gustavo Forcada, Editor of the online magazine Belfusto, March 2021

Andrea Vanía: “Paolo”

Andrea Vanía, “Paolo”, Photo Shoot for Pineapple

Andrea Vanía is a photographer, dancer and choreographer who used his skill at visualizing concepts through imagery for a career in fashion and advertising. In that career, he set up art scenes for shooting both video clips and for music and fashion sets. Seeking to work without restraints from client requests, Vanía started freelance work to explore his own personal esthetic view.

Trained as a dancer to use the human form and the surrounding space as a way to interpret music, Vanía also used drawing to describe and understand the tensions and harmonies of a human body in motion. Now as a photographer, he attempts to produce intense and honest work that explores both the power and the fragility of the male nude. The figures in his work are presented through a wide range of lighting techniques and are set in environments ranging from interiors and urban settings to lush forests. 

Vanía’s photo session of Paolo, shown above, was produced for Pineapple, an online site for explicit artworks and photo sessions. It serves as an exhibition space for the wide spectrum of emerging artists and photographers in the gay scene. The site also presents interviews with the various contributing artists. 

Pineapple’s site, with contact and submission information and purchasable artwork, can be found at: http://pnpplzine.com

Jim French

The Photography of Jim French

Born in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania in July of 1932, James Thomas French was an American artist, photographer, illustrator, filmmaker, and publisher. He is best known for his association with COLT Studio, one of the most successful gay male erotica companies in the United States.

For his formal art education, Jim French entered the Philadelphia Museum School of Art in 1950 to study towards a career in fashion illustration similar to that of J.C. Leyendecker. In 1953, the year before his graduation from the Museum School, he joined the United States Army Reserves and went on active duty in 1955; French earned a honorable discharge from service in 1957. Settled in New York City, he pursued a successful freelance career as an advertising illustrator for several Madison Avenue advertising firms. 

In addition to his work for Neiman Marcus and other high-end department stores, French also created textile designs for designer Tammis Keefe; collections of her work are now housed in Cooper Union and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Working with Columbia Records, he created portrait drawings of singers, such as Johnny Mathis. Frank Sinatra and Maria Callas, for use as album art. While working on Madison Avenue in the mid-1960s, French drew homoerotic drawings in his spare time, under the pseudonym of Arion. His drawings were offered in 1966 through Ed Wild’s Times Square Studio as well as his own short-lived mail order venture, the Arion Studio. 

Jim French was approached by a friend from his Army days, Saul Stollman, who had seen some of his Arion drawings, to create a physique studio in New York City. French adopted a new pseudonym for this venture, Kurt Lüger, and under the name of Lüger Studios began producing new, more masculine figured illustrations, which featured leather men, cowboys, wrestlers, and other similar archetypes. Lüger Studio artwork first appeared as two drawings from the “Cowboy” series in the May/June 1966 issue of “Young Physique”. This series of six to eight drawings was advertised in other male erotica magazines and was available for purchase through mail order. 

The success of Lüger Studio developed quickly after being featured in the pages and on the covers of a wide assortment of physique magazines. Saul Stollman bought out French’s interests in the studio in February of 1968 and briefly ran the business on his own. However, now featuring photographs and eight millimeter films from substandard producers, Lüger Studio did not attract enough interest to survive beyond 1968. 

On December 5th of 1967, Jim French and Lou Thomas, a friend and astute businessman, took out a business license to form COLT Studio. Although originally named to evoke the image of the Colt pistol, the studio quickly changed its COLT image to that of a stallion. For this new venture, French adopted a new pseudonym, Rip Colt, and began to make highly detailed pencil drawings, using the newly marketed Polaroid camera to shoot photographs of male models for research studies. Before the camera’s  advent, it had been a challenge getting erotic subject matter that was shot on film processed as many venues were reluctant to deal with this material. The Polaroid camera which contained its own processor solved that issue with its instant results. 

In the initial years of the company, COLT Studio released French’s illustrations, under the Rip Colt name, and photo sets of masculine male models, The studio eventually added short films, magazines and calendars. Based for six years in New York City, COLT Studio was relocated in 1974 to Studio City in California, due to French’s frequent travels to Southern California. At this time, French bought the company shares owned by his partner Lou Thomas, who soon formed his own business, Target Studios, a venture which provided the underground demographic with quality homoerotic art and film. 

COLT Studio grew into one of the most successful gay photography studios of its time and offered the highest quality male erotica commercially available. Jim French’s company was famous not only for its stable of male models, but also for its magazine brands which included Spurs, COLT Men, Manpower, and its film venue, COLT Studios Presents. French ran the company until 2003 when he sold the studio to former Falcon Studios director John Rutherford and his partner Tom Settle. For a few years after the sale of COLT Studio, Jim French continued to privately sell salon-style prints of his photographs before he settled into quiet retirement. Jim French died peacefully in his sleep at his Palm Springs, California, home on the 15th of June in 2017. He was  survived by his husband Jeff Turner.

Under his own publishing imprint State of Man, Jim French published eight volumes of fine art male photography from 1972 to 1999, among which are “Man”, “Quorum”, “The Art of Jim French: the Nude Male”, and “Opus Deorum”. French’s work has been published in several collections: Felix Lance Falkon’s 1972 “A Historic Collection of Gay Art”; a collection of early 1970s photographs of model David Scrivanek entitled “Like a Moth to a Flame”; and an anthology of his early Polaroid photographs from the 1960s and early 1970s entitled “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Sailor: Jim French Polaroids”. French’s photographs and illustrations can be found in many private and public collections.

Notes: In 2004, Gabriel Goldberg convinced Jim French to tell his own story to the public for the first time. This personal account entitled “Life Thru a Lens: Jim French: In His Own Words” can be found at the Advocate online magazine located at: https://www.advocate.com/people/2017/6/29/story-jim-french-and-colt

Many of Jim French’s Polaroid photographs can be found at the Wessel and O’Connor Fine Art website located at:  https://wesseloconnor.com/exhibits/french/french1.phpd

Second Insert Image: Jim French, Untitled (Sailor with Shadow), Polaroid Print, 10.8 x 8.3 cm, Private Collection

Third Insert Image: Jim French, Untitled (Sailor), Polaroid Print, 10.8 x 8.3 cm, Private Collection

Bottom Insert Image: Jim French, Untitled, circa 1970s, Gelatin Silver Print, 56.5 x 71.7 cm, Private Collection

Luis Medina

The Photography of Luis Medina

Born in Havana in June of 1942, Luis Medina was a Cuban-American photographer based in Chicago, whose work focused on the documentation of marginalized groups, such as the gay and Latino communities. During his childhood, he attended a private military school until 1958 when, at the age of sixteen, he left for Spain to  complete his education. In Spain, Medina met the exiled Cuban poet and writer Gastón Baquero, who introduced him to Spanish literature, painting, and architecture. He toured through Europe, working a series of jobs to finance his trip, and visited Italy, Germany and France.

 In 1961, Luis Medina migrated to Miami, Florida, and was reunited with his mother and stepfather, who had immigrated from Cuba after Fidel Castro’s rise to power. Supporting himself with temporary jobs, he studied history, philosophy and sociology at Miami Dade Junior College, where he graduated with honors in 1967. At Miami Dade, Medina reunited with old friends, among whom was his closest friend José Lopez, a fellow student from the military academy in Havana. 

Sensing he was stagnating in Miami, Medina left the influence of his parents’ Cuban culture and relocated to attend the School of the Art Institute of Chicago with dreams of becoming a sculptor. Reaching a similar decision about life in Miami, José Lopez also moved to Chicago to attend its Art Institute. The two friends found two American mentors at the Institute: Harold Allen, a teacher who was an architectural photographer, and Hugh Edwards, who was the Institute’s curator of prints, drawings and photographs. 

A Mormon in upbringing, Harold Allen was a steadfast, quiet man who was well informed in art history and proficient as a photographer. It was Allen who first instilled in Medina a fascination for photography. In working with Allen on site photograph projects, Medina learned how to calculate a precise point of view and capture the quality of light. Self-educated in French literature, Art history and American history, Hugh Edwards came from a working-class family. A friend of musician Duke Ellington, he was trained in classical music, appreciated a wide range of singers and motion pictures, and was well-read in the works of Faulkner, Proust, Whitman, and other notable authors. Through these mentors, Medina and Lopez gained an unique education in photography and North American culture. 

Luis Medina turned his artistic interests to photography in a collaborative effort with José Lopez. They had their first joint museum exhibition organized by the Art Institute of Chicago in 1973; versions of the show traveled to Finland in 1974 and Australia in 1976 as a representative of North American photography. After being introduced to Hugh Edward’s Puerto Rican friends, Medina and Lopez began taking images of the diverse cultures in the city of Chicago. In the fall of 1973, they worked with an art historian and an architect in Illinois’s Quincy and Adams counties photographing its architecture and local crafts for the American Revolution Bicentennial Administration’s project, “Community Rediscovery ’76″.

In 1974, Medina and Lopez worked together to document the campus of the University of Chicago for a book entitled “Dreams in Stone”. With their aesthetic and personal points of view diverging, their intimate eleven-year partnership eventually dissolved. After an illness in 1977, Lopez moved back to Miami and gave up photography; Medina inherited their mutual work and stayed on in Chicago. With Lopez’z departure, Medina’s photography shifted in focus; his sudden domestic solitude generated less optimistic and more introspective work. Rekindling his interest in human contradictions and tragedies, he began to develop a more private side of work which, more satisfying and outspoken, gave voice to his Cuban origins.

Luis Medina began a series of photographs on Latin-American life in Chicago, which included Puerto Rican Day parades and local weddings. He also began to photograph Chicago’s LGBTQ scene of the late 1970s and early 1980s with a series of work that documented the community from a unique inside perspective. Beginning in 1977, Medina started photographing the altars and ceremonies of the African-Cuban religious folk cult known as Santeria. Although he continued to produce architectural photos on commission, the main focus of his work became his immediate surroundings. Seeing the explosion of territorial graffiti throughout the city, Medina started photographing Chicago’s neighborhood youth gangs and their personalized graffiti. Through time, he earned the trust of the gangs and began to also shoot their portraits. A solo exhibition of both portraits and photographed graffiti was held at the Art Institute of Chicago in 1980. 

Beginning in late 1984, Medina was diagnosed with a cytomegalovirus infection, which often is associated with AIDS; his infection possibly developed as early as 1981 and had now become debilitating. Medina lost partial control of his left hand but, through a course of handwriting exercises, slowly regained his dexterity. He kept his rapidly progressing illness a secret from his family and friends and continued to believe in his survival. By June of 1985, Medina was with his parents in Miami and knew he was dying. Surrounded by his parents and a few friends, Luis Medina died, at the age of forty-three, at Jackson Memorial Hospital on October 12th of 1985. 

The publishing of Luis Medina’s work after his death was accomplished through the efforts of his mother, Olga Bohorques, who was determined that his work would not be forgotten, and members of Chicago’s Photo Circle and its Art Institute. A retrospective of Medina’s work, entitled “Facts and Fables by Luis Medina, Photographer”, was held at the Art Institute of Chicago in 1993.  His work also appeared in the 2018 group exhibition, “Never So Lovely So Real: Photography and Film in Chicago, 1950-1980”. held as part of Art Design Chicago.

Note: A collection of Medina’s photographs, dating from the 1960s to the 1980s, is housed in the University of Miami’s Cuban Heritage Collection. The collection is comprised of approximately twenty-two thousand items of mixed media: slides, silver gelatin prints, negatives and color prints. The collection is unprocessed but open for research.

Don Herron

The Photography of Don Herron

Born in Brenham, Texas in 1941, Don Herron was an American photographer. Upon graduating from high school in 1959, he served four years in the United States Air Force. Herron received his Bachelor of Arts, and later in 1972, his Master of Fine Arts from the University of Texas at Austin, where he taught studio classes. He moved to San Francisco in the latter part of 1972. 

Inspired by medieval sculptures set in niches and largely self-taught, he began a series of portraits of people posed in bathtubs, which became known as the “Tub Shots”. Herron collaborated with his subjects and allowed them to stage the images. Some of his subjects simply sat in their empty bathtubs, while others wore costumes and created tableaux. The tubs were sometimes filled with water or styrofoam peanuts used for packing. Many of the subjects posed nude; others concealed themselves with bubbles or the limbs of mannequins. 

In 1978, Don Herron relocated to New York City where he became part of the East Village art scene. He continued his series of black and white images by photographing the members of its underground, bohemian community of artists. The “Tub Shots” series contains such personalities as painter Keith Haring, photographers Peter Hujar and Robert Mapplethorpe, filmmaker Peter Berlin, playwrights and drag performers Charles Busch and Ethyl Eichelberger, and actress and Warhol superstar Holly Woodlawn, among others. Through this work, Herron captured both the glamour and camp, as well as the joy and tragedy, that the community experienced in the 1970s.

Herron relocated in the middle of the 1980s to Newburgh, New York, where he became an active member of the Historical Society of Newburgh Bay and the Highlands. He settled in a historical 1836 Federal townhouse which had been designed by Thornton McNess Niven, a Scottish-American architect and master stonecutter who gained fame for his Gothic Revival and Italianate styles. Herron created accurate drawings of his and other historical buildings in the Newburgh area for publication in tour booklets. He also provided artwork for non-profit groups including Habitat for Humanity.

Don Herron also wrote newsprint articles for the Times Herald Record and the Mid-Hudson Times; his writings drew on his personal experiences, including his childhood in Texas and his confrontation with cancer. Don Lee Herron died on December 25th of 2012 at the Castle Point Veterans Administration Hospital surrounded by his many friends.

Herron’s  “Tub Shots” series has been published in New York’s Village Voice, the New York Magazine and in the art journal, Art Forum.  In 2018, the Daniel Cooney Gallery in the Chelsea district of Manhattan held a two month exhibition of Herron’s series which displayed sixty-five black and white photographs dated from 1978 to 1993.  Herron’s work is in the collections of the Chrysler Museum of Art in Norfolk, Virginia; Connecticut’s Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum; New York’s Tang Teaching Art Museum in Saratoga Springs; and the museums of the Universities of Texas, Louisiana, and Toronto. 

Note: Three articles on “Tub Shots” and Don Herron can be found at New York essayist and television producer Brian Ferrari’s informative blog site located at: https://brianferrarinyc.com

Top Insert Image: Don Herron, “Performer Winston Fong, San Francisco”, circa 1972-78, Tub Shots Series, Gelatin Silver Print

Middle Insert Image: Don Herron, Self Portrait, 1993, Gelatin Silver Print

Bottom Insert Image: Don Herron, “Actor Ethyl Sichelberger, NYC”, 1982, Tub Shot Series, Gelatin Silver Print

John O’Reilly

The Montage Work of John O’Reilly

Born in February of 1930 in Orange, New Jersey, John O’Reilly was an American artist whose intricate assemblages combine art, literature, history, and autobiography. His works of montage, both paper and photographic, investigate the issues of religion, violence and eroticism in society. O’Reilly studied at Syracuse University in New York where he earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts in 1952. After serving in the Army, he studied at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, from which he graduated in 1956 with a Master of Fine Arts. While at the Art Institute, he met sculptor James Tellin, who became his lifelong partner and, later, husband in 2013.

Upon graduation, O’Reilly supported himself as an art therapist at the Worcester State Hospital in Massachusetts for twenty-seven years. He made small, intricate photo-collages in private for many years, only sharing them with close friends. In O’Reilly’s work, foreground and background are merged together to form the plane on which are placed fragmented images: Greek statues, Titian paintings, heads of World War Two soldiers, self-portraits, clippings from gay porn magazines, and works by Cézanne, Caravaggio and Vermeer, among others. O’Reilly’s works are in the same tradition as that of the boxed found-object assemblages created by Joseph Cornell, one of the pioneers and most celebrated exponents of assemblage.

One of John O’Reilly’s first works was his 1965 “Self Portrait”, in which he combined polaroid images of himself with astronomic images and details from the paintings of Hieronymus Bosch. During the 1970s, he combined in his collages images of  California’s west-coast modern architecture with works by Poussin, Titian and other historical art references. O’Reilly first started publicly exhibiting his photo montages at the age of fifty. One of his first exhibition was in 1983 at the Addison Gallery of American Art at Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts. O’Reilly exhibited his work multiple times through the 1980s, including solo shows at New York’s Alan Stone Gallery and Boston’s Howard Yezerski Gallery, and a 1985 group show at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. 

John O’Reilly’s main subject in his 1900s work was the topic of war which he felt was a great obscenity. Exhibitions during the period included group shows at the John Weber Gallery and the Wessel & O’Connor Gallery in New York, a solo exhibition at New York’s Julie Saul Gallery, and another group show at MOMA. In 1995, art dealer and curator Klaus Kertess, the owner of New York’s Bykert Gallery,  selected a number of O’Reilly’s images for inclusion in the Whitney Museum’s Biennial. Works during this period of the 1990s included stage dioramas from his series “Occupied Territories”, which featured bodies from gay porn magazines collaged to the heads of German soldiers from World War II; these newly eroticized figures were then attached to scenes from painter Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot’s landscapes. 

Starting in the early 2000s, O’Reilly began to remove his image from his photo montages. The collages became more dense in appearance, fragmented and austere with his only appearance being one reflected in images of glass shards. Endlessly suggestive, the montages contain shadows drifting from bodies and body parts wafting out of open mouths. Discarding the seamlessness of his previous works’ backgrounds, O’Reilly began using complex, intersecting lines at the edges of his collage work which pushed his work closer to abstraction.

John O’Reilly, at the age of ninety-one, died of a stroke on May 20th of 2021 in the Briarwood retirement community of Worcester. He was survived by his husband, James Tellin, and his brother Edward. The majority of O’Reilly’s work, a collection in excess of thirteen-hundred works, is now housed at the Addison Gallery of the Phillips Academy. His work is included in the collections of many museums including Boston’s Museum of Fine Art, the Detroit Institute of Art, the Princeton University Art Museum, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, among others.

“I have to fight intellect — my work needs to look like one unit without looking like a collage. It starts with an idea, then I go through book after book until I find something, over a long period of time. I call them montages, where one thing logically flows into another.”—John O’Reilly, The Brooklyn Rail, 2017

Note: A collection of twelve black and white photomontages by John O’Reilly can be found at the online Queer Arts Resource located at: http://www.queer-arts.org/archive/jun_98/oreilly/oreilly.html

Top Insert Image: Seth David Ruben, “John O’Reilly”, 2021

Second Insert Image: John O’Reilly, “Tears”, 1999,  Polaroid Montage, 20 x 17.1 cm

Third Insert Image: John O’Reilly, “Umbrella”, 1981, Paper Montage, 20.3 x 20.3 cm

Bottom Insert Image: John O’Reilly, “A Constellation”, 1982, Caseine and Halftone Montage, 25.4 x 17.3 cm

 

Gaston-Marie Martin

Photography and Sculptural Work by Gaston-Marie Martin

Following a lineage of artistic personalities, Gaston-Marie Martin is a French photographer and sculptor who currently lives and works in Paris. His photographic work of male figures  are either in black and white format or tinted with colors.  

Revisiting classical references in his sculptural work, Martin creates reliquaries which, hidden away in their interiors, contain secret, almost ceremonial photographs of male figures. These instruments of memory blend the history of painting and the epic of photography with an archaeology of erotism. The reliquaries raise, in a very personal way, the art medium of nudity to a fascinating form of symbolism.

Gaston-Marie Martin’s works can be found at the artist’s sites located at: 

https://ofleadandlight.tumblr.com

http://gastonmariemartin.blogspot.com

Bruno Barbey

Photography by Bruno Barbey

Born into a diplomatic family in February of 1941, Bruno Barbey was a Moroccan-born French photographer whose work covered a span of nearly fifty years. He studied graphic arts and photography at Switzerland’s Ecole des Arts et Métiers in the city of Vevey. During the 1960s, Barbey was commissioned by Editions Rencontre, a publishing house in Lausanne, to photograph in African and European countries.

In 1966, Barbey began a long career with the international Magnum Photos, one of the first photographic cooperatives owned and administered entirely by its members. He later became an Associate member in 1966, and a full member in 1968, at which time he produced a series of work on the student riots in Paris. Barbey continued his career at Magnum Photos as vice-president for Europe in 1978 and 1979, and as President of Magnum International from 1992 to 1995.

Beginning in 1979, Bruno Barbey worked on a two year photographic project in Poland to document the socio-political changes occurring in the country. In a time when the country was divided between Christianity and Communism, he and his family traveled, while living in a camper, over forty thousand miles over an eight month period. In spite of the strict surveillance of visitors to Poland at the time, Barbey was able to take many informal photographs of the local people; seventy-five photographs of this series were published in his 1982 “Portrait of Poland”.

Although he photographed throughout many countries, Barbey became best known for his coverage of world conflicts, including civil wars in Nigeria, Vietnam, Northern Ireland, the Middle East, Cambodia, and the liberation war in Bangladesh. His work has been published in over twenty books, which included photographic projects in Portugal, Bombay, Kenya, Italy, Istanbul, and Naples, among others. Barbey did the cinematography on Éric Rohmer’s 1963 film “The Bakery Girl of Monceau” and had worked on eight films with director Caroline Thiénot, including the 2015 short film “Passages”.

In 1999, Paris’s art museum Petit Palais organized a large exhibition of photographs that Barbey had taken in Morocco during the previous three decades. In 2015, La Maison Européene de la Photographic, based in Paris, presented a retrospective exhibition of Barbey’s work, which traveled internationally in 2016. A retrospective book of his work, “Passages” was also released in the same year.

In 2016, Bruno Barbey was elected as member of the French Academy of Fine Arts. He had received many awards for his work, including the French National Order of Merit. Known for his free and harmonious use of color, Barbey died in November of 2020, at the age of seventy-nine, in Orbais l’Abbaye, France. His photographs have been exhibited internationally and are in numerous museum collections.

All photos credited to Magnum Photos.

Eliot Elisofon

Eliot Elisofon,“Marcel Duchamp Descending a Staircase”, 1952, Gelatin Silver Print, Image Size 33.5 x 26.8 cm, Mead Art Museum, Amherst College

Born in New York City in April of 1911 to immigrant parents, Eliot Elisofon, born Meyer Eliot Elicofon, was a photojournalist and a documentary photographer. His humble upbringing and childhood struggles inspired his career as a photographer; the human condition with all its struggles became the central focus of his work. 

Elisofon graduated from Fordham University in 1933 and first produced advertising photographs for Vogue and Mademoiselle magazines. By 1937, he was regularly contributing work to Life magazine on a variety of subjects, including theater, military exercises, coal miners, and elite society events. In 1936, Elisofon became a founding member of the Photo League, a cooperative of New York photographers who covered creative and social causes. One of its more active members, he gave lectures, collaborated with sociologist and photographer Lewis Hine on the “Men at Work” project, and taught courses on flash photography and photojournalism. 

In 1937, Eliot Elisofon became associated with filmmaker Willard Van Dyke, Harper’s Bazaar art director Alexey Brodovitch, Beaumont Newhall, the photography curator at the Museum of Modern Art, and Tom Maloney, the editior of U.S. Camera magazine. His first exhibition of his New York street photography was shown at the Pennsylvania Museum of Art and New York’s avant-garde Julien Levy Gallery, In 1938, Elisofon’s “Playgrounds of Manhattan” was shown at the New School, a progressive arts college in New York City. 

Elisofon was hired in 1939 as a photographer in the Federal Writers’ Project, a WPA New Deal Program, for its series “These Are Our Lives”, which contained thirty-seven life histories of both black and white farm laborers, factory and mill workers, and workers in service occupations or on relief. Beginning in 1942, Elisofon was a war correspondent and a photographer for Life magazine; he was the only photographer to accompany General Patton throughout the North African Campaign. These photographs taken during the campaign became part of the exhibition “The Tunisian Triumph”, which opened in June of 1943 at MOMA and later traveled to twenty cities. Elisofon continued to be associated with Life and other magazines until 1972. 

Over the years, Eliot Elisofon traveled to six continents and nineteen books of his work were published during his lifetime. During his photographic journeys around the African continent, Elisofon assembled a collection of African art and took over eighty thousand images; the art and photographs are now part of the collection of the National Museum of African Art in Washington, DC. 

Eliot Elisofon’s photograph “Marcel Duchamp Descending a Staircase” was shot for a ten-page article written by Winthrop Sargeant on Marcel Duchamp, a key member of the Dada movement, for the April 28, 1952, issue of Life magazine. One of Duchamp’s most significant works was his early 1912 painting “Nude Descending a Staircase”, a cubist image in the manner of the chronophotography work of Eadweard Muybridge, who was a pioneer in the study of movement and measurement through multiple image photography. Elison’s 1952 time-lapse photograph of Duchamp descending a flight of stairs was done as a tribute to Duchamp’s famous painting; the image above is one of the two staged shots that Elisofon produced in the photo shoot.

Top Insert Image: Eliot Elisofon, “Self Portrait with Speed Graphic Camera, New York City”, 1936, Gelatin Silver Print

Bottom Insert Image: Marcel Duchamp, “Nude Descending a Staircase (No. 2)”, 1912, Oil on Canvas, 151.8 x 93.3 cm, Philadelphia Museum of Art

Francesc Català-Roca

Photography by Francesc Català-Roca

Born in  in Valls, Tarragona, in March of 1922, Francesc Català-Roca was a Spanish photographer, the first of a brilliant generation of photographers to emerge in the post-civil war era of 1950s Spain.

After the Spanish Civil War, during Franco’s dictatorship, Català-Roca travelled extensively throughout Spain. An eye witness to the changes that slowly transformed the country, he frequented groups of artists and intellectuals, with whom he influenced and exchanged ideas. Having embraced the neorealist photography of the time, Català-Roca is best known for his documentary images of Spain  and for his portraits of contemporary artists and intellectuals. 

Francesc Català-Roca started his apprenticeship at the age of thirteen in the photographic studio of his father, Pere Català Pic , a writer and a representative of Catalan avant-garde movement. At an early age, he established a studio as a portraitist and, in 1948, worked independently as a photojournalist for magazines such as “Destino” and “La Vanguardia”. Executed predominately in a black and white, minimalist style, Català-Roca’s photography dealt with a variety of themes from landscapes to cityscapes, and artistic documentation to ethnography

Català-Roca’s first photographic book, published in 1952, portrayed one of Spain’s most famous creations, the Sagrada Familia designed by Antoni Gaudi, the famous Catalan architect. In 1954 he had his first exhibition of his black and white work. In the same year,  Català-Roca  was commissioned to illustrate books by Luis Romero and Juan Antonio Cabezas on Barcelona and Madrid, respectively. 

These two commissions enabled Francesc Català-Roca to show his vision of these cities. His many images of Barcelona, with which he had a direct connection, reflect a sophisticated city working to modernize itself; while the images of 1950s Madrid are characterized by its post-war poverty. Repeatedly throughout his career, Català-Roca explored not only the busiest city streets but explored the more obscure areas, such as he did with Barcelona’s Barrio Chino and the shantytowns that surrounded the city.

Català-Roca’s oeuvre contains two hundred thirty-one thousand works, published in over one thousand books, of which eighty are photo-albums. In addition to his books, he directed  films of which the best known are the 1952 “Piedras Vivas”, a documentary about the Holy Family which won first prize at Italy’s Festival of Ancona in the same year; the 1958 “Rapsodia de Sangre”, a film of a young pianist whose concert becomes a slogan in the demonstrations against the 1956 invasion of Hungary; the 1966 short film “Tierra de Conquistadores”; and the 1969 “Ditirambo”, a tragic story of an atypical hero whose life changes unexpectedly.

Francesc Català-Roca also made documentaries on such famous artists as painter Joan Miró, abstract painter Josep Guinovart, and monumental public sculptor Eduardo Chillida. Català Roca passed away, after a long and fruitful career full of merits and awards, on March 15, 1998 in Barcelona . In 1998, a homage to his work was presented by Barcelona’s Primavera Fotográfica and, in May of 2000, an extensive retrospective was held in Barcelona’s La Fundación Joan Miró.

Tope Insert Image: Francesc Català-Roca, Title and Date Unknown, (Viewers), Gelatin Silver Print

Middle Insert Image: Francesc Català-Roca, Self-Portrait in Park Güell, 1953, Gelatin Silver Print 

Bottom Insert Image: Francesc Català-Roca, Barcelona, 1950, Gelatin Silver Print

Robert Rauschenberg

Robert Rauschenberg, “Self Portrait, Black Mountain (1)”, 1952, Gelatin Silver Print, 14.3 x 8.3 cm, Robert Rauschenberg Foundation

While studying at Black Mountain College in North Carolina between 1948 and 1952, Robert Rauschenberg focused his attention on mid-century experimental and abstract photography. His exploration of this medium was influenced by the works of photographer Aaron Siskind, whose detailed images created an innovation in abstract photography; Harry Callahan, a prolific photographer who rigorously curated his work; and educator and photographer Hazel Larson Archer, whose work captured life at Black Mountain.

Rauschenberg used a bold mixture of abstraction, double exposures, experiments with light and shadow, and used blueprint paper to produce photographs with a camera. Many of his earliest photographic experiments were portraits of close companions and people he met in conversations; these include artists such as choreographer and dancer Merce Cunningham and painter Cy Twombly.

A recurring subject of his experimental work was the self portrait, of which the double-exposure image above, “Self Portrait, Black Mountain (1)”, is an example. Shot in 1952, it features Rauschenberg seated on a wooden chair with his hands folded. Ghostly images of weeds and chairs are superimposed over his body.This photograph is a singular work in a portfolio edition of seven related photographs taken during the summer of 1952 at Black Mountain College near Asheville, North Carolina.

Mati Gelman

Mati Gelman, “Joel”, Date Unknown, Trending Deities Series, Photograph, Computer Graphics

Born in Hungary, Mati Gelman is a commercial and fine art photographer who spent his early years living in Israel. Interested in the processes of nature and humans’ interaction with them, he initially pursued a vocation in the field of science and earned a Bachelors of Science in Biochemistry from the Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa and a Masters of Science in Chemistry from the Bar Han University in Tel Aviv. Upon moving to New York City in 2015, Gelman decided to enhance his self-taught photographic skills with technical courses at the International Center for Photography and the Pratt Institute, both located in Manhattan.

Gelman’s work aesthetic focuses on the connections between the forces of nature and the human body. His images explore the issues of human integration with nature, sexuality, and queerness; they are heavily influenced by legends and fairytales, which have had a lasting impact on human society. Gelman tends to create scenes which provoke an ominous sensation in order to induce a sense of the unknown. As human beings are pattern recognizers and often prescribe meaning to unaccustomed phenomena, the elements of Gelman’s works are intentionally left open to the viewers’ interpretations.

Mati Gelman creates stories and shapes his characters through both his imagination and his life experiences. His work is a blend of photography and computer graphics. Using a Sony a7R11 with a 24-70 lens, Gelman photographs his posed subjects and continues his work with Lightroom for minor adjustments and Photoshop for the basic effects. Gelman won the ViewPoint Gallery International Photography competition for his work entitled “Flight”, an image of a figure mid-air surrounded by billowing cloth in the light of a sunset. His “Entangled”, a figure seemingly suspended by strips of white cloth, won first place in the 2018 Chromatic Awards. Gelman has also won awards at the Annual Fine Art Photography Awards, FAPA, in 2019 and 2020.

Besides his fine art photography, Gelman has executed photo shoots for off-Broadway theater productions. He shot the promotional images for playwright and director Asher Gelman’s 2018 theater production, “Afterglow”, a character study which explored the dynamics of an open gay relationship involving three personality archetypes. Mati Gelman’s work also includes photo shoots for the following plays: “Diaspora”, “Safeword”, “Eco Village”, “Counting Sheep”, “We Are the Tigers”, and “Medusa”.

The title image “Joel” and the middle insert image, title unknown, are from Mati Gelman’s “Trending Deities” series which explores the parallels between ritual and worship in both religion and social media. Using both modern and traditional references throughout the series, Gelman’s work uses cinematic proportions as a reference to smartphone screens and, by multiplying the characters and placing them in ritualistic activities, depicts the virtual cult-like following that is adherent on social media platforms. The color palettes and compositions were inspired by Renaissance, Greco-Roman, and Medieval art.

The work of Mati Gelman can be found at the artist’s sites: https://www.matigelman.com and Instagram @matigelman .

Denis Dailleux

Photography by Denis Dailleux

Born in Angers, France in 1958, Denis Dailleux is a portraiture photographer who has been documenting life in Egypt for the past thirty years. His works, done in classical black and white as well as in subtle colors, equally capture Egypt’s famous residents and the anonymous subjects in the slums of Cairo with the same passion and the same distinctive sensitivity.

Dailleux has published a series of photographic books, all of which  portray the settings and people of Egypt, the city of Cairo, and his impressions of the 2011 January Revolution in Egypt. After the publishing of his 2008 “Fils de Roi: Portraits of Egypt”, Dailleux took an exploratory trip to Sub-Saharan Africa in search of new sources of inspiration. This expedition led to a portrait series on the village residents in the country of Ghana.

Denis Dailleux has been awarded several international prizes, including the 1997 Monographies Award, the 2000 World Press Photo Award in the portraits category, the 2000 City of Vevey Hasselblad Award in Switzerland, and the 2001 Fuji Film Award given at Biarritz’s Festival Terre d’Images. Dailleux’s series “Egypt, Mother and Son”, portraits of Egyptian bodybuilders with their mothers, won second prize at the 2014 World Press Photo Awards in the staged portraits category. 

A member of Agence VU, Denis Dailleux currently lives in Cairo, Egypt, where he works as a portrait photographer. His website is located at: https://www.denisdailleux.com/index.php?/

The images above contain photographs from several of Dailleux’s series: “Ghana” and “Egypt“; “Egypt, Mother and Son”,  and “Les Conducteurs de Tuk-Tuk du Cairo”.