Gordon Coster

The Photography of Gordon Coster

Born in Baltimore, Maryland in 1906, Gordon H. Coster was an American photographer known for his abstracted industrial images and his photojournalism documenting civil rights and labor issues. Interested in photography from an early age,  he joined the Baltimore Camera Club in the early 1920s and garnered a reputation when his modernistic images were accepted in international photographic salons. At nineteen years old, Coster’s 1925 Bauhaus-inspired image of Baltimore’s Washington Monument, “Shadow of the Washington Monument”, was published in the Baltimore Sun’s rotogravure section. 

From 1920 to 1925, Gordon Coster worked for the Bachrach Portrait Studio in Baltimore. Once photography replaced drawing in advertising illustration, he moved to New York City where he became employed by the prestigious Underwood & Underwood. Originally the largest producer and distributor of stereoscopic and other photographic images, the photographic studio became a pioneer in the field of news bureau photography. Coster secured his place in the field by creating innovative advertising and industrial photo-illustrations for newspapers, magazines and catalogues. 

From the beginning of 1927 through 1936, Coster documented labor union activities. He relocated to Chicago in 1930 where he founded a mid-western branch of Underwood & Underwood. During his years in Chicago, Coster developed an unique artistic style for his evening cityscapes. These experimental works presented an abstracted perspective of Chicago’s buildings, shot with tilted angles and occasionally through unfocused lenses. Coster shifted his career to photojournalism with freelance work for such periodicals as Life, Scientific American, Time, Fortune, and Holiday.

Gordon Coster’s personal commitment to the welfare of his fellow citizens led to many extensive documentary projects. In the late 1930s, he produced many projects dedicated to American life in the mid-west. Coster created a series on the lives of wheat farmers and a detailed photo-documentary on the Tennessee Valley Authority Dam Project. Passed in 1933, the TVA project, though controversial at the time, transformed the wild Tennessee Valley river system into a stable region with flood-control, safe navigation, electrification, and economic development. Through the 1930s and 1940s, Coster documented the impact of World War II on the U.S. home front through images of  factories repurposed for military production, women assembly-line workers, and rallies to support the troops.

In 1946 Bauhaus professor László Moholy-Nagy, who founded the Chicago Institute of Design, invited Coster to lecture at the institute’s course “The New Vision in Photography” alongside such eminent photographers as Paul Strand, Erwin Blumenfeld and Berenice Abbott. Coster returned to lecture in 1950 to 1951 and later in 1960 with a focus on socially-oriented themes. In 1955, Edward Steichen selected Coster’s work for inclusion in the landmark exhibition “The Family of Man” held at New York City’s Museum of Modern Art. 

Gordon Coster ceased his photographic work in 1964 and eventually retired in 1982. He passed away in 1988 at the age of sixty-two. Coster’s work has been included in exhibitions at Houston’s Contemporary Art Museum, the Stephen Daiter Gallery in Chicago,  London’s Viewfinder Gallery, and New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Notes: Gordon Coster’s  photographic work is included in the current 2023 exhibition “Trick Photography and Visual Effects”  (January 19 to March 18) at the Keith de Lellis Gallery located at 41 East 57th Street in New York City.

A major collection of Gordon Coster’s work, including over twenty-five thousand prints, negatives, transparencies, and film reels, is housed at the Research Center of the Chicago History Museum. 

Top Insert Image: Gordon Coster, “Self Portrait”, circa 1945, Gelatin Silver Print, 20.3 x 25.4 cm, Private Collection

Second Insert Image: Gordon Coster, “Eliot Elisofon”, 1942, Gelatin Silver Print, Life Magazine Cover July 13, 1942, International Center of Photography

Bottom Insert Image: Gordon Coster, “Chicago Outdoor Street Market”, 1944, Gelatin Silver Print, Life Magazine Collection, 33.7 x 26.7 cm, International Center of Photography

Sergey Svetlakov

Paintings and Drawings by Sergey Svetlakov

Born in 1961 in the city of Kazan located on the Volga River in southwest Russia, Sergey Svetlakov is a painter and stage designer. His oeuvre includes psychological portraits from life, still lifes, and figurative paintings and drawings of nude models. Svetlakov graduated in 1981 from the Kazan Art School; founded in 1895, it is one of the oldest art institutions in Russia. He graduated with honors in 1986 from Saint Petersburg’s Theater Academy, a state institute for theater, music and cinematography, where he was an art director of drama and musical theater.

Svetlakov worked for several years as a set designer in theaters throughout the country. His most notable work during this period was costume design for composer Edison Denisov’s 1981 opera “L’Ecume des Jours” which was based on Boris Vlan’s novel of the same name. The opera’s 1986 world premiere took place at the Opéra-Comique in Paris with later performances at Perm’s Tchaikovsky Opera and Ballet Theater in 1989 and the Staatsoper Stuttgart in late 2012.

In the early 1990s, Sergey Svetlakov ceased working on theater productions and focused on portraits, nude studies and still lifes. In his carefully detailed work, he attempts to join the traditions of academic Realism with the style of Neo-Classicism. In his still lifes, the fruit, vases and other objects retain their natural material weight against the heavy folds of arranged, patterned drapery. For his portraits and nude studies, Svetlakov works only from models and strives to convey the beauty and inner life of his sitters, usually ordinary people with various types of social backgrounds. 

One of Svetlakov’s models, Denis, was an actor who had placed an advertisement in the local paper in order to make extra money. Svetlakov’s “Portrait of Denis: Actor, Juggler and Fashion Model” is a painting, done primarily in a red palette, that presents an intense figure of Ukrainian, Russian, Greek, and Tater origins. This portrait won the second-place 2020 BP Portrait Award from the National Gallery in London.

Sergey Svetlakov has exhibited widely across Europe, the United States and Japan. In April of 2000, he entered his work in Moscow’s Zero Gallery as part of the exhibition for the Manege Art Fair. Other group exhibitions include the 2012 Art Asia in Miami; the Art Hamptons-USA 2013 exhibition at Gallery G-77 in Kyoto, Japan; the 2014 Affordable Art Show at Galerie MooiMan in Groningen, the Netherlands; and the Affordable Art Shows held at Galerie MooiMan in Milan, Italy and in Maastricht, the Netherlands, both in 2015. 

Svetlakov also had a solo exhibition of his work at Penates, formerly the estate of portrait painter Ilya Repin and now a museum and UNESCO World Heritage Site. One of his most recent works, “The Youth from Moldavia” was exhibited at the 2021 Royal Society of Portrait Painters’ Annual Exhibition held at the Mall Galleries in London. 

Sergey Svetlakov’s life and work was the subject of a documentary for the “Property of the Republic” series  produced and aired by Russian National Television in 1991. For many years, the prestigious London auction house, MacDougall’s, has been selling Svetlakov’s work as part of its Russian art series. Sergey Svetlakov currently lives and maintains a studio in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Sergey Svetlakov’s website, with images and contact information, can be located at: https://sergeysvetlakov.com

Second Insert Image: Sergey Svetlakov,, “Anton Karavaev”, Date Unknown, Graphite Pencil on Paper Life Drawing

Bottom Insert Image: Sergey Svetlakov, “Portrait of Dmitry”, Date Unknown, Graphite Pencil on Paper Life Drawing

Edmund Teske

The Photography of Edmund Teske

Born in Chicago, Illinois in March of 1911, Edmund Rudolph Teske was an American photographer who along with his portraits produced a prolific volume of experimental photography. For him, photography was more than a way to record a specific moment in time; it was a way to explore the soul of his subjects. Although he was well known among other photographers and participated in many exhibitions, his work was not widely known among the general public.

The eldest son of three children born to Polish emigrant parents, Teske moved at the age of eight with his parents to Wisconsin. It was at this early age that he began to develop his interests in painting and poetry. When the family moved back to Chicago in 1921, Teske began to study music, lessons which concentrated on the piano and saxophone. Encouraged by his elementary school teacher, he began in 1923 to experiment in photography through the school’s facilities. By 1932 Teske was accomplished in the piano to such a degree that he became the protégé of concert pianist Ida Lustagarten. 

Edmund Teske had his first solo exhibition of photographs at the Blackstone Theatre, now the Merie Reskin Theater, in the Loop community area of Chicago. In 1933, he began a career in photography working at a Chicago studio. Traveling to New York in 1936, Teske met and received encouragement in his work by American photographer and modern-art promoter Alfred Stieglitz. In the same year he had the opportunity to meet Frank Lloyd Wright at his studio in Wisconsin. At Wright’s invitation in 1938, Teske took up a fellowship in photography to be conducted at Taliesin, Wright’s personal estate in Wisconsin, where he documented Wright’s architectural projects and began experiments with his own photographic work. 

Teske’s professional relationship with Wright enhanced his reputation and brought him into contact with such artists as Ansel Adams, portrait and architectural photographer Berenice Abbott and Hungarian constructivist photographer Lászió Moholy-Nagy. Teske taught briefly in the late 1930s with Moholy-Nagy at the New Bauhaus Institute of Design in Chicago and was an assistant at Abbott’s New York studio later in 1939. In the late 1930s, he started a documentary series of Chicago scenes entitled “Portrait of My City” which focused on the social issues of the city. 

Although drafted at the beginning of World War II, Edmund Teske failed the medical exam for asocial tendencies and emotional instability, terms often used at that time to disqualify homosexual men. He was instead appointed as an assistant photographer for the Army Corps of Engineers stationed at Illinois’s Rock Island Arsenal where he printed aerial maps for the military. In the early part of 1943, Teske was able to leave his position and, allured by a new life in Hollywood, made the decision to move to Los Angeles. 

After a brief working stay at Wright’s Arizona Taliesin West, Teske arrived in Los Angeles in April of 1943. He was hired for Paramount Pictures’s photographic still department and soon joined the artistic and bohemian movement in the city. After a chance meeting with oil heiress Aline Barnsdall, who was a client of Wright, he was invited to live at the Olive Hill estate that Wright had designed for her. Assuming a larger role than that of just caretaker, Teske hosted informal parties and artistic gatherings with such personalities as artist Man Ray, novelist Anaïs Nin, director George Cukor, sculptor Tony Smith, and actors Joel McCrea and Frances Dee. 

Among the people that Edmund Teske met during this period was the novelist and playwright Christopher Isherwood who introduced Teske to the Hindu philosophy of Vedanta. Teske embraced this philosophy with its concept of the connection of life and nature, and its understanding of the existence of time in relation to the larger universe. He also believed in the coexistence of both the masculine and the feminine within every individual. These teachings  became a firm basis for his existing view of  life and formed a bonding point with Isherwood and the growing Los Angeles gay community. 

Teske continued his photographic experiments with manipulated and combined multiple images from which he produced composite prints from sandwiched negatives, prints with solarization to reverse highlight and shadow, and photographic collages. One of the series he produced was “Shiva-Shakti” which featured a nude male overlaid with human faces, landscapes, or abstract subjects. After moving in 1949 to a small studio in Laurel Canyon, Teske became active during the early part of the 1950s with several small, local theater groups. Throughout the 1950s, he experimented with new manipulative and chemical techniques which culminated in 1958 with a new combination of photographic print toning and solarization, later named duotone solarization. 

Edmund Teske frequently returned during the 1960s and 1970s to older negatives and reinterpreted them through experimental printing techniques. He participated in more than two dozen group exhibition including the Museum of Modern Art’s 1960 “The Sense of Abstraction” show and was given eighteen solo shows. A colleague of photographer Robert Heineken at the University of California in Los Angeles in the 1960s, Teske taught many of the important photographers of that time, among whom were Aaron Siskind and Judy Dater, and mentored many local photographers. He befriended singer Jim Morrison of The Doors and took a series of informal portraits of Morrison and long term companion Pamela Courson.

During the last twenty years of his life, Teske worked and lived in his East Hollywood studio where he regularly taught workshops. He assembled a comprehensive  six-volume autobiographical collection of his work , entitled “Emanations”; however it was never published during his lifetime. In 1994 the Northridge Earthquake severely damaged his studio which forced him to relocate to downtown Los Angeles. Edmund Teske died alone in his home at the age of eighty-five on November 22nd in 1996. A posthumous retrospective of Teske’s photographs was given in 2004 by the John Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles. 

“Strive to accept the facts of life with courage and serenity to develop talent, as an outlet for emotion, and to find happiness in the world of the mind and spirit. In the days when Greece and Rome ruled the world in arts and letters and philosophy, love of man for man reached openly its pinnacle of beauty. Civilization today, moving forward, must eventually recognize these true facts of love and sex variations.”

–Excerpt from Edmund Teske’s Journal, Published in Julian Cox’s “Spirit into Matter: The Photographs of Edmund Teske”, John Paul Getty Museum, 2004

Note: An informative and more extensive read on the life of Edmund Teske is Rosalind G. Wholden’s article for the February 1964 print issue of ARTFORUM entitled “Edmund Teske: The Camera as Reliquary”. The article can be found online at: https://www.artforum.com/print/196402/edmund-teske-the-camera-as-reliquary-37879

Top Insert Image: Photographer Unknown, “Edmund Teska”, Date Unknown, Gelatin Silver Print

Second Insert Image: Edmund Teske, “Richard Soakup, Teske’s Lover in Their Chicago Flat”, 1940, Gelatin Silver Print, 20.3 x 19.7 cm, Private Collection 

Third Insert Image: Edmund Teske, “Jim Morrison and Pam”, 1969, Gelatin Silver Print Composite, Private Collection

Fourth Insert Image: Edmund Teske, “Herb Landegger and Bill Burke, Olive Hill, Hollywood”, 1945, Gelatin Silver Print, Private Collection

Bottom Insert Image: Elisa Leonelli, “Edmund Teske, Topanga Canyon”, 1976, Gelatin Silver Print

Naila Hazell

The Paintings of Naila Hazell

Born in 1981, Naila Hazell is a British contemporary artist who was raised in Baku, Azerbaijan. She studied fine arts under the renowned Soviet social-realist painter Boyukagha Mirzezade, a laureate of the State Prize of the Azerbaijan Republic. Hazell  received her MFA at the Azerbaijani Fine Arts Academy. Although working mainly in oils, she is exploring other mediums for her conceptual art projects.

Hazell is mainly a figurative artist whose work in oils contain a diversity of deep colors and structures surrounding her figures. Her works explore the stillness found in those short precious moments that happen throughout one’s life, often ignored due to life’s rapid pace. Hazell’s themes contain many stories linked to ordinary life experiences; they also contain messages about the deeper realities of life and offer glimpses into individual identities. 

Naila Hazell’s work has been included in many group exhibitions since her initial entry in a 2000 group exhibition in Baku. Her second group show was “White and Black” held in 2009 at the Azerbaijan National Museum in Baku. From 2010 to 2020, Hazell has had work in sixteen group shows in Azerbaijan and England. Among these were the 2011 “Novruz Celebration” held at Gibson Hall, Bishop Gate in London, the 2020 Mall Galleries Annual Exhibition for the Royal Society of Portrait Painters, and the 2020 Mall Galleries Royal Society of British Artists 303rd Annual Exhibition in London.

In 2008, Hazrll had her first solo exhibition entitled “You Are Always With Me” at Baku’s Art Centre Gallery. Her second solo was the 2012 “Naila Hazell” exhibition held at the Axerbaijan Cultural Center in London. In 2020, Hazell exhibited her works at a solo exhibition in the Hogarth Health Club in Chiswick, London. Currently based in her West London studio, she was the recipient of the 2021 Royal Scottish Academy’s Lyon and Turnbull Award. 

Naila Hazell’s work is currently being shown at an exhibition entitled “Face to Face” held at London’s Gillian Jason Gallery on Great Titchfield Street until the 17th of December. Hazell’s website can be found at:  https://www.nailahazell.com

Top Insert Image: Photographer Unknown, “Naila Hazell with Self Portrait”

Middle Insert Image: Naila Hazell, “Intersection with Shadows”, 2022, Oil on Linen

Bottom Insert Image: Naila Hazell, “Resting on Truth”, 2022, Oil on Linen

Amos Badertscher

Photography by Amos Badertscher

Born in Baltimore, Maryland in 1936, Amos Badertscher is a self-taught American photographer whose body of work includes portraits, still lifes, and landscapes. He is best known for his gelatin silver prints of Baltimore’s hustler and subculture scenes from the 1970s to the 1990s.

In the middle of the 1970s, Badertscher, financed by a family inheritance, began to capture on film Baltimore’s downtrodden youth, often homeless or drug addicted, and many of them sex-workers between jail terms. On many of the portraits, there is copious shaky and uneven handwriting which sometimes filled all the available negative space around the image.These texts written by Badertscher revealed the lives of his subjects and his understanding of them. The writings outlined the painful childhoods, addictions, prostitution, disease and other realities that affected the lives of his subjects. In the texts, Badertscher also described fluidity in the sexual identity of the hustlers and their attempts at creating even fleeting stability in their lives.

Each of Amos Badertscher’s images is shot without reliance on intricate technique; instead the focus is placed on the intimate, personal nature of the portrait. His preferred photographic technique is rapid, unrehearsed sessions which are not planned or visualized in advance. Badertscher relies on his instinct and what he considers his many possibilities in the darkroom.

Badertscher’s work was ignored for almost twenty years. By 1993, he was resigned to putting his house up for sale. By chance, the real-estate agent brought Michael Mezzatesta. the director of the Duke University Museum of Art, and his wife to tour the house whose many rooms were covered with Badertscher’s photographs. Although the couple did not purchase the house, Badertscher was later given a solo exhibition at the Duke University Museum of Art in 1995. 

Amos Badertscher’s best known photographic collection is “Baltimore Portraits” which was published in association with the Duke University Museum of Art’s exhibition of Badertscher’s work. The volume contains eighty black and white portraits accompanied with hand-written narratives about their subjects. “Baltimore Portraits”, which span a twenty-year period from the mid-1970s to the mid-1990s, documented a sector of Baltimore life that had been largely unnoticed and virtually decimated by societal neglect, AIDS, and substance abuse. Badertscher’s collection presented arresting and melancholy photographs of bar and street people, strippers, drug addicts, transvestites, drag queens and hustlers. 

Badertscher has shown his photography in many group exhibitions, including most recently “The 1970’s: The Blossoming of Queer Enlightenment” at the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art in 2016, the 2019 “About Face: Stonewall, Revolt and New Queer Art” at Wrightwood 659 in Chicago’s Lincoln Park, and the 2021 “Clandestine: The Photo Collection of Pedro Slim” at the Cobra Museum voor Moderne Kunst in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Badertscher’s photographs, along with works by Diane Arbus, Man Ray, Bill Brandt and others, were also  included in Mexico City’s  “La Parte Más Bella”exhibition at the Museo de Arte Moderno which ran from October 2017 to March 2018.  

In 2005, the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art gave a retrospective of Amos Badertscher’s photographs entitled “Illegal to See–The Outsider Art of Amos Badertscher”. This exhibit was originally mounted as part of the Center for Exploratory and Perceptual Art’s “Deviant Bodies”, a major exhibition that explored the margins of contemporary gay male culture. Badertscher’s show consisted of fifty-seven gelatin silver prints from his thirty plus years of work. From March to July in 2020, a solo exhibition of Badertscher’s photographs, “Amos Badertscher: The Souls Around Us” was held at the Schwules Museum in Berlin; this retrospective was his first comprehensive museum exhibition outside of the United States.

In 1998, a collection of Amos Badertscher’s photography, entitled “Badertscher”, was published by St. Martin’s Press. His work was also included in David Arden Sprigle’s 1998 “Male Bonding: Volume Two”, an anthology collection of sixty-three photographers. Badertscher’s photographs can be found in the New York Public Library’s Photography Collection and the Harry H. Weintraub Collection of Gay-Related Photography and Historical Documentation (1850-2010) at the Cornell University Library, as well as many other public and private collections.

Note: For those interested, Amos Badertscher’s “Baltimore Portraits” is availabel through the Duke University Press located at: https://www.dukeupress.edu/baltimore-portraits

A review by Gary Scharfman on the 2005 exhibition “Illegal to See: A Portrait of Hustler Culture by Photographer Amos Badertscher”, held at the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art, can be found at: https://www.leslielohman.org/exhibitions/illegal-to-see-a-portrait-of-hustler-culture-by-photographer-amos-badertscher

Top Insert Image: Amos Badertscher, “Portrait of Marty”, 1999, Gelatin Silver Print, 34.9 x 27.6 cm, Private Collection

Third Insert Image: Amos Badertscher, “Constantine P. Cavafy Poem”, 1975, Gelatin Silver Print, Leslie-Lohman  Museum of Art

Bottom Insert Image: Amos Badertscher, Title Unknown (Portrait with Mirror), 1996, Gelatin Silver Print, Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art

Adrien Pelletier

Portraits by Adrien Pelletier

Born in Paris in 1981, Adrien Pelletier is a French painter whose work focuses on the art of portraiture. He earned his Bachelor of FineArts in Graphic Design at Paris’s Central Saint Martins in 2004 and his Master of Fine Arts at London’s Royal College of Arts in 2006. Pelletier also studied graphic design history and semiotics at Ecole Estienne in Paris. He has held the position of art director for many years at fashion magazines based in Paris and London.

For his Bachelor of Arts graphic design dissertation at Central Saint Martins in 2004, Adrien Pelletier produced “SWAG: The Talent of the Others”.  The home-printed book was a collection of fictional interviews around the theme of borrowing from others. The research investigated various dialectic oppositions, such as original versus copy, authentic versuss fake, author versus artist, legal versus legitimate, authority versss integrity, and the concept of you versus me.

Executed in the mediums of acrylic or gouache, Pelletier’s works  are intimate portraits of strangers, friends and lovers who are situated in outdoor or personal interior settings. These compositions, either innocent or sexual in nature, are painted using bold and complimentary colors in a straightforward, naive style. Pelletier uses personal photographs of people in his life as references for his work. His first exhibition in Paris was as part of Exposition Collective Libre N. 2 held at the 3537 Gallery in March of 2022.

At the invitation of Jean Pierre Blanc, the director of the arts center  La Villa Noaillees, Pelletier began in 2017 an Art Residency on the Île du Levant off the coast of the French Riviera. While there, he painted a series of forty-five portraits of the residents of the island’s naturalist village, a society of independent individuals who shun cars and clothes.

In Pelletier’s Despina residency project, a more documentary approach was developed in which he often combined interviews with the portraiture. The project was to portray the cultural resistance to the political far-right movement and the possibilities of interactions among local communities. Portraits of activists, artists, intellectuals and people on the street were combined with dialogues on the environment, the rights of the individual, LBGTQ issues, and the protection of the indigenous Amazon communities.

Middle Insert Image: Adrien Pelletier, “Andreas à Athènes”, 2021, Paris, Gouache on Paper, 15 x 20 cm

Bottom Insert Image: Adrien Pelletier, “Mathias”, 2022, “To Paint is to Love Again” Series, Paris, Acrylic on Canvas, 75 x 50 cm

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

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

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

Anselm Feuerbach

The Paintings of Anselm Feuerbach

Born in September of 1829 in Speyer, one of Germany’s oldest cities, Anselm Feuerbach was a painter and a leading member of the nineteenth-century German classical school. He was the son of archaeologist Joseph Anselm Feuerbach and the grandson of legal scholar Paul Johann Anselm Ritter von Feuerbach, whose reformation of the Bavarian penal code led to the abolition of torture. 

Anselm Feuerbach studied between 1845 and 1848 at the Düsseldorf Academy under the tutelage of romantic painter Wilhelm von Schadow, landscape painter Johann Wilhelm Schirmer, and Carl Sohn, whose poetic and mythical subjects were executed in the idealistic manner of the Düsseldorf school of painting. Feuerbach studied for a year at the Munich Academy of Art; he however left Munich in 1850 to attend the Academy at Antwerp. There he studied under Belgian painter Gustaaf Wappers, an early exponent of the Romanic movement in Belgium.

Anselm Feuerbach relocated to Paris in 1851 and became a student at the atelier of history and genre painter Thomas Couture. Conture is best known for his 1847 masterpiece “Romans During the Decadence” which was  exhibited at Paris’s Salon a year before the revolution toppled the monarchy. In 1854, Feuerbach received funding from Grand Duke Friedrich of Baden which enabled him to visit Venice, accompanied by his friend, the writer Victor Scheffel. There he was influenced by the technique of layering and blending colors to achieve a glowing richness, a method deemed fundamental to the Venetian Colorist school.

 Feuerbach traveled to Florence and then onto Rome where he would remain until 1873, with only brief trips back to Germany. In 1861, he met Anna Risi who became his mistress and sat as his model for four years, a period during which he painted twenty portraits of her. She was succeeded as a model in 1866 by Lucia Brunacci, an innkeeper’s wife who posed for Feuerbach’s depictions of the Greek sorceress Medea. In 1862, literary and art historian Count Adolf Freidrich von Schack commissioned Feuerbach for several copies of Old Master paintings and introduced him to artists Hans von Marées and Arnold Böcklin. 

Interested in the Persian poet Hafia since his youth, Anselm Feuervach in 1866 painted his “Hafia at the Fountain” which was acquired two years later by art collector Joseph Benzino, Upon Benzino’s death, the painting was bequeathed to  the Kaiserslautern Art Museum. In 1873,  Feuerbach relocated to Vienna and took the position of professor of history painting at the Academy of Fine Arts.  Four years later, he resigned his post and moved back to Venice. where he passed away, at the age of fifty, in January of 1880. 

In remembrance of Feuerbach, his friend Johannes Brahms composed “Nänie (A Funeral Song)”,  a composition for full chorus and orchestra, of which the first sentence states “Even the beautiful must die”. Feuerbach was close to his step-mother Henriette Feuerbach. Throughout his lifetime of travels, he wrote roughly six-hundred letters to his step-mother describing his everyday life and problems, as well as his thoughts on art and his methods of painting. Following Feuerbach’s  death, his step-mother wrote a book entitled “Ein Vermächtnis (A Testament)” which included his autobiographical notes and many of his personal letters. Anselm Feuerbach’s works are housed in collections of the leading public German galleries.

Note: An article written by Candida Syndikus entitled “Far from the Modern World: Anselm Feuerbach’s Idea of Modernity” can be found at: https://www.academia.edu/31442931/Far_from_the_modern_world_Anselm_Feuerbach_s_Idea_of_Modernity_pp_63_103

Top Insert Image: Anselm Feuerbach, Selbetbildnis als Knabe (Self Portrait as a Boy)”, 1845-1846, Oil on Canvas, 15.5 x 12.5 cm, Alte Nationalgalerie

Middle Insert Image: Anselm Feuerbach, “Seated Male Nude”, 1860-1869, Black and white Chalk on Brown Paper, 60.4 x 40 cm, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Bottom Insert Image: Anselm Feuerbach, “Self Portrait”, 1852-1853, Oil on Canvas, 42 x 33 cm, Staatliche Kunsthalle, Karlsruhe, Germany

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

Ottilie Roederstein

The Paintings of Ottilie Roederstein

Born in 1859 to German parents in Zurich, Ottilie Wilhelmine  Roederstein was a painter who gained attention mostly in her homeland of Switzerland, but also in France and Germany. Her interest in painting began with the visit to her family home by Swiss painter Eduard Pfyffer who had been commissioned to do the family’s portraits. Beginning in 1876, Roederstein was allowed by her father, against her mother’s wishes and the prevailing social customs, to study painting under the tutelage of Eduard Pfyffer, so she would remain close to home

Three years later, Roederstein moved to the Berlin residence of her married sister Johanna and found a position in a special women’s class at the Grand-Ducal Saxon Art School under the tutelage of portrait painter Carl Gussow. Her first exhibition of paintings at a Zurich gallery in 1882 was well received. That same year, Roederstein followed her colleagues to Paris where she joined the women’s studio of portrait painters Charles Auguste Émile Durand and Jean-Jacques Henner. In addition to these classes, Roederstein also worked with academic painter Luc-Olivier Merson and painted nudes in special private evening classes.

In order to sustain herself as an artist, Ottilie Roederstein had chosen the genres of portraiture and still life, for which she used a dark-toned color palette. She soon departed from that traditional canon and began to paint religious imagery and nudes. By the very end of the 1890s, Roederstein had embraced the tempera medium which was in vogue among both traditional and avant-garde artists. She experimented with Symbolism and Impressionism in the latter part of her career before returning to her signature style in the 1920s.

Initially dependent on financial support from her family, Roederstein was able by 1887 to support herself with sales and commissions for her work. She returned to Zurich but continued to maintain her Paris studio on the Seine where she would work and exhibit several months of the year. Roederstein moved to Frankfurt, Germany, in 1891 to be with her partner, Elizabeth Winterhalter, a physician and one of the first female surgeons in Germany.

In 1891, Elisabeth Winterhalter had just  taken over a practice in Frankfurt am Main’s newly founded hospital, the Vaterländischer Frauenverein. She also set up the first gynecological polyclinic through a branch of the Red Cross organization. Although unable to obtain a German medical license despite her internships and Doctorate, she established a reputation as an obstetrician and gynecologist. In 1895, Winterhalter became the first female surgeon in Germany to perform a surgical procedure involving an incision through the abdominal wall. She also conducted research that led to the discovery of the ganglion cell of the ovary and published a major paper on the subject in 1896. 

Soon after her 1891 move to Berlin, Ottilie Roederstein quickly gained a wide circle of clients and, in 1892, began giving  women artists painting lessons at her  studio in the Städel Art School. She exhibited her paintings in Paris’s Salon and won a Silver Medal at the city’s 1889 Exposition Universelle. Her work was also shown at the Woman’s Building of the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition held in Chicago, Illinois. In 1902, Ottilie Roederstein’s application for Swiss citizenship was granted; however, Frankfurt remained at the center of her life. Five years later, she and Elisabeth settled in Hofheim am Taurus, a western Frankfurt suburb surrounded by forest. 

Roederstein was a member of the Frankfurt-Cronberg Artists’ Association, a group which was attempting to establish the Impressionist technique of open air painting in Germany. She was also the only female artist to exhibit at Cologne’s 1912 International Art Exhibition. In 1913, Roederstein became a member of Frankfurt’s Women’s Art Association which campaigned for women artists’ rights to equal training and admission to art academies. During the first World War as exhibition opportunities shrank, she gave up her Paris studio and withdrew into the privacy of her Hofheim estate. Beginning in 1920, Roederstein bequeathed her own collection of important French and Swiss paintings to Kunsthaus Zürich, one of the most important art collections in Switzerland. 

In 1929 on the occasion of Ottilie Roederstein’s seventieth birthday, a large anniversary exhibition of her work was held at Frankfurt’s Art Museum and the city declared both Roederstein and Winte halter as honorary citizens. The rise of the National Socialist Party to power in Germany and the persecution of her Jewish friends and colleagues deeply affected Roederstein. She herself, as an artist, became subject to the state and had to contend with the government’s increasing control over the arts. After the war, Roederstein continued her painting and did  a number of portraits of women widowed by the war. 

Ottilie Roederstein continued to exhibit regularly until 1931. She produced a large body of work, of which more than eighty were self-portraits. She usually staged herself in a self-confident pose with a stern gaze, a posture that signified her emancipation. On the 26th of November in 1937, Ottilie W. Roederstein died of a heart condition in Hofheim am Taunus. The first posthumous exhibitions of Roederstein’s work were presented in 1938 in Frankfurt, Zurich and Bern in recognition of her artistic legacy and tireless work as a mediator between Switzerland and Germany. After a long period of obscurity, a retrospective of seventy works by Roederstein was held at Kunsthaus Zürich in December of 2020.

After her partner’s  death, Elisabeth Winterhalter created a joint legacy, the Roederstein-Winterhalter-Stiftung. She died in February of 1952 in Hofheim am Taunus. Winterhalter was buried alongside Roederstein in an honorary grave cared for by the community. For her efforts in opening the medical profession to women, a street in the Niederursel district of Frankfurt is named after her. 

Top Insert Image: Photographer Unknown, Ottilie Roederstein in Her Atelier, Date Unknown

Second Insert Image: Ottilie Foederstein, “Self Portrait with Keys”, 1936, 105.3 x 74.6 cm, Städel Museum

Third Insert Image: Photographer Unknown, ” Ottilie roederstein and Elisabeth Winterhalter, Date Unknown

Fourth Insert Image: Ottilie W. Roederstein, “Self Portrait with Hat”, 1904, Oil on Canvas, 55.3 x 46.1 cm, Stäadel Museum

Bottom Insert Image: Photogapher Unknown, Ottilie Roederstein and Elisabeth Winterhalter, Date Unknown, Studio Portrait Print

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

Andreas Martin Andersen

Andreas Martin Andersen, “Hendrik Andersen and John Briggs Potter in Florence”, 1894, Oil on Canvas, Dimensions Unknown, Hendrik Andersen Museum, Rome

Born in August of 1869 in Bergen, the historic site of Norway’s first coronation, painter Andreas Martin Andersen was the first son of parents Anders Andersen and Helene Monsine Monsen. His younger brother, the sculptor Hendrik Christian Andersen, was born in April of 1872, also in Bergen. In 1873, the family emigrated to the United States and settled in Newport, Rhode Island. 

Beginning in 1889, Andreas Andersen studied at Cowles Art School in Boston. Three years later after receiving a scholarship, he studied painting at the Académie Julian in Paris under painter and sculptor Jean-Paul Laurens, a major exponent of the French Academic style, and  Jean-Joseph Benjamin-Constant, painter and etcher known for his Oriental subjects and portraits. During his stay in Paris, Andersen shared the studio with his American friend Howard G. Cushing, the son of an illustrious and wealthy family with residences in Newport and Boston. 

Andersen also became good friends with the painter John Briggs Potter, another student at the Académie Julian. In 1894, Hendrik Andersen joined his brother in Paris. The three Americans traveled together through Europe and explored the many Italian cities, including Florence. “Hendrik Andersen and John Briggs Potter in Florence”, was painted in 1894 by Andreas Andersen during the last year of their grand European tour as a final proof to be sent back to Boston. He portrayed his brother and friend Potter as they woke up in the bohemian interior of the Florentine house in Via San Zanobi near Piazza Indipendenza where the three companions had taken up residence.

Early in his academic stay in Paris, Andreas Andersen began dating Olivia Cushing who was Howard’s sister and, at that time, residing in Paris. By 1892, they had developed a strong loving bond. Upon his return to the United States at the end of 1894, Andersen settled in the Boston area and began painting. A talented painter, his exceptional early success was partly influenced by Olivia Cushing’s friendships with many wealthy citizens of the area. One of Andersen’s most important patrons was Isabella Stewart Gardner. Born to a wealthy family and a collector of rare books. Gardner supported many artists, including John Singer Sargent and dancer Ruth St, Denis. Over his career, Andersen painted over thirty portraits and a dozen landscapes, as well as a series of drawings with academic studies of nudes.

Andreas Andersen married Olivia Cushing in January of 1902. Stricken with tuberculosis, he was ill at the time of their marriage and died a year later in February of 1902. Many of Andersen’s works are housed in private collections and in the Hendrik Andersen Museum in Rome. 

 In 1903, Olivia Cushing Andersen left Boston to join her brother-in-law Hendrik Andersen in Rome. A cultural woman of great sensitivity and author of allegorical dramas with historical and biblical themes, she was Hendrik’s muse and also in part the financier of his grandiose sculptural and urban projects. Until her death in Rome in December of 1917, she was the passionate expounder of Andreas and Hendrik’s work in her unpublished diaries. These diaries are now preserved in the historical archive of the Hendrik Andersen Museum in Rome. 

Top Insert Image: Andreas Martin Andersen, “Dionysus Torso at Fenway Court”, 1902, Oil on Canvas, 57 x 36 cm, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

Bottom Insert Image: Andreas Martin Andersen, “Portrait of Olivia Cushing Andersen”, Circa 1895, Oil on Canvas, Dimensions Unknown

Larry Stanton

The Portrait Work of Larry Stanton

Born in June of 1947 in Rockville Center on the south shore of Long Island, Larry Stanton was a portrait painter who was lived and worked  in Manhattan, New York. His father, a graduate of Columbia University and the Juilliard School of Music, moved his family in 1948 to a dairy farm in New York’s Catskill Mountains to provide a country environment for the family and a source of income for his work as a freelance music arranger. Due to the foundering of both the farm and his musical aspirations, Stanton’s father often experienced periods of frustration and temper which affected the family. However, despite the familial tensions, both he and Stanton’s mother encouraged and supported Stanton’s early artwork. 

After graduating high school, Larry Stanton studied on an art scholarship at New York City’s Cooper Union for one semester. He worked in the following months at various odd jobs including mailrooms and an ice cream parlor. During this period, Stanton embraced his gay identity and gained some notoriety in New York City’s gay community. He became acquainted with banker Arthur Lambert in the summer of 1967 and the two were immediately drawn to each other. Upon returning from a trip with Lambert to London, Stanton followed him in the fall of that year to Los Angeles, where Stanton took a new financial position. 

In February of 1968, Stanton enrolled in Los Angeles’s Art Center College of Design where he received his first formal training in drawing and painting. After applying himself intensely to his studies, he became convinced it was possible to make a career in art. During his time at the college, Stanton met many people who would become lifelong friends, including Alice Sulit, an art student from the Philippines, and English painter David Hockney. In the fall of 1968, Stanton traveled with Lambert to Hockney’s residence in London where he met another major influence on his life, Henry Geldzahler, the Curator of Contemporary Art at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art.  

Upon the return to New York, Larry Stanton moved into a Manhattan rent-controlled apartment owned by his father, who was relocating to retire in Florida; Lambert returned to his financial work in California. With a scholarship from the New School, Stanton began  to study printmaking and drawing; his studies were further supported by a grant for printmaking from the Tiffany Foundation. In January of 1970, Stanton had his first exhibition of drawings at New York City’s Gotham Gallery. This show was followed by a period of travel, accompanied sometimes by Henry Geldzabler, to Italy, Tunisia and sub-Saharan Africa. Upon his return, Stanton found a basement studio space in the Italian section of Greenwich Village where he could continue his painting. 

In early 1972, Arthur Lambert moved back to New York and noticed a change in Stanton. Stanton had begun drinking alcohol more frequently and had become less committed to painting. He began to pursue filmmaking and produced a few films on David Hockney. Stanton also began bringing back to his place young men he met on his travels around the city. By late 1977, he was not socializing as much and complained of lingering feelings of anxiety. Stanton’s mother, with whom he had a close bond, succumbed from cancer in 1979 after a three year struggle. The loss of this bond, intensified by the depressive effects of his developed alcoholism, resulted in Stanton having a psychological collapse for which he needed hospitalization.

From this trauma, Larry Stanton emerged a sober, non-smoking artist with an intense commitment to his art. Stanton moved his studio to a larger location nearer his apartment which enabled him to work on larger canvases. By 1983, his studio was attracting young writers and artists who admired his work and sought his company. In his apartment and studio, Stanton created a series of portraits in charcoal, oil crayon, pencil, and pen, as well as paint, drawing friends, familial relations, and people he met while wandering the streets of New York. Many of the people who posed for him would later die from the AIDS epidemic.

Holly Solomon, a prominent art dealer, commissioned two portraits, one of herself and one of her son. She later placed two of Stanton’s oversized portraits in a group show at her Soho gallery. Following this show, Stanton’s work was given an exhibition at the Aaron Berman Gallery in Brooklyn. In 1984, his work was included in a major group exhibition at the Queens, New York, city-owned exhibition space, PS1, which focused on emerging new artists. Stanton’s work was also presented in a group exhibition at the East Village’s Magic Gallery. With these shows, his work was gaining increased attention as he developed a consistent quality and a mature personal style. 

Beginning in February of 1984, Larry Stanton began to have health problems, initially shingles and later periodic unpleasant skin rashes. After numerous tests, the doctors assured there were no signs of immunity problems; there were no specific AIDS testing at this time. In August, Stanton developed a persistent and sore throat and was diagnosed with pneumocystis carinii pneumonia, a fatal fungal infection of the lungs and major cause of death for people with HIV/AIDS. Larry Stanton died, at the age of thirty-seven, of AIDS-related illness on October 18th of 1984. 

After Larry Stanton’s  death, a collection of his work was shown at New York City’s Charles Cowles Gallery in 1987. From May through July of 2021, the Daniel Cooney Fine Art Gallery in the Chelsea area of New York City held “It Doesn’t Thunder Every Day”, an exhibition of twenty works on paper by Stanton that captured the faces of a generation of people lost in the early stages of the AIDS epidemic. Larry Stanton’s work is housed in the permanent collection of New York City’s  Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art.

Notes: A full collection of Larry Stanton’s paintings and drawings, as well as personal tributes and remembrances by friends such as Arthur Lambert,  Henry Geldzahler and David Hockney, can be found at: http://www.larrystanton.net

A recent collection of poems by gay poet Winthrop Smith entitled “Take Down Portraits: Drawings and Portraits by Larry Stanton” was published by Chiron Review Press. Bringing the portraits back to life, Smith’s poems imagine the encounters between Stanton and his sitters, which reconstruct the experience of New York at the height of the AIDS epidemic.

Top Insert Image: Photographer Unknown, “Larry Stanton”, circa 1968

Second Insert Image: Larry Stanton, “Man in Jockstrap”, circa Early 1970s, Pencil on Paper, Private Collection

Third Insert Image: Photographer Unknown, “Arry Stanton in His Village Basement Studio”, circa 1981

Fourth Insert Image: Larry Stanton, “Joey”, 1975, Pencil on Paper, Private Collection

Bottom Insert Image: Photographer Unknown, “larry Stanton, Fire Island Pines”, circa 1980

Simona Dolci

The Paintings of Simona Dolci

Born in 1950 in Pesaro, a city located on the Adriatic Sea, Simona Dolci is an Italian realist painter and architect. In 1975, she earned her doctorate in Architecture from the University of Florence under Leonardo Ricci, a leading figure in the Italian architectural scene of the Second War World and a proponent of social and landscape-bound architecture. Dolci was assistant Professor in the university’s Department of Architecture from 1976 to 1980. After her tenure at the university, she studied painting and drawing at Florence’s Accademia di Belle Arti. 

In 1983, Simona Dolci continued her training at the Florence atelier conducted by painter and educator Nerina Simi, the daughter of Italian painter and sculptor Filadelfo Simi, himself the student of the famous French painter Jean Leon Gérome. From 1988 to 1991, Dolci completed her studies in painting and artistic techniques at Florence’s renowned Cecil Graves School of Art, a private atelier focused on classical techniques of drawing and oil painting. 

Since 1991, Dolci has taught drawing and painting skills at her own studio, an old monastery in the heart of Florence, as well as at the city’s Academy of Art. Starting in 1995, she also taught the Academy’s summer painting and drawing courses, and became its Program Director in 2005. Dolci has been Director of the Academy’s Intensive Drawing Program since 1998. 

Simona Dolci has participated in numerous  solo and group exhibitions over the years, including the 2007 exhibition “The Art of Seduction” at Dublin’s Gormleys Gallery, where she showed her paintings together the figurative work of Irish sculptor Paddy Campbell. In 2018, she presented new works at “The Sweet Noise of Life”, a major exhibition in Pietrasanta, Italy. That same year Dolci was awarded the prestigious “Caterina de Medici Prize” by the International Medicean Academy of Florence, reserved to great contemporary women who have distinguished themselves in their professional careers. Her paintings are in many private collections in Italy, France, Mexico, and the United States.

“You will draw figures so that this will be sufficient to demonstrate what the figure has inside its soul; otherwise your art will not be commendable” -Leonardo Da Vinci

Bottom Insert Image: Simona Dolci, “Vulcano”, 2015, Oil on Canvas on Panel, 65 a 85 cm, Private Collection

Note: For those interested in a scholarly article on Simona Dolci’s realistic work, I recommend art curator Anita Valentini’s article “Simona Dolci: Portraits of Contemporary Archetypes, The Sweet Sound and Memory of Life” which can be found at the link below:

Click to access Scritto-critico-EN.pdf

 

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

Montague Glover

The Photography of Montague Glover

Born in May of 1898 in Leamington Spa, a spa town known for its medicinal waters, Montague Charles Glover was a British freelance architect and private photographer. He is best known for his photographs depicting homosexual life in London during the early and mid-twentieth century when homosexuality was illegal. The majority of his oeuvre, shot during a period of increasing persecutions against homosexuals, documented members of the military forces and the working class, whose social class divisions are depicted through their dress.

The youngest of five siblings and the only male child, Montague Glover entered the British Army in 1916 for service in the first World War. He was a member of the Artist Rifles Regiment, a regiment of the Territorial Force which saw active service during the war. Glover was promoted to Second Lieutenant in 1917 and was awarded the Military Cross for Bravery in 1918.

Glover is notable for his photographs depicting the partnership with his long-time lover, Ralph Edward Hall, who was born in December of 1913 in Bermondsey, a district in the South End of London. Hall was one of nine children from a poor working-class family whose father worked as a wharf laborer. After meeting his lover in 1930, Glover employed him as his manservant, most likely to provide a social alibi for their residing together. Their relationship lasted for more than fifty years and survived Hall’s four-year service in the Royal Air Force during the second World War. Hall, absolutely devoted to Glover, sent during his years of military service hundreds of love letters to his partner.

Glover’s photographs of his domestic life with Hall are a rare documented example of a long-term relationship before the passage of the Sexual Offenses Act of 1967. Given royal assent in July of 1967 after intense debate in the House of Commons, this act essentially legalized homosexual acts in England and Wales, on the condition that they were consensual, in private and between two men who had attained the age of twenty-one. The Sexual Offenses Act of 1967 did not, however, apply to the Merchant Navy or the Armed Forces, nor to Northern Ireland or Scotland.

The Sexual Offenses Act did not condone homosexuality but argued that it was not within the responsibility of the criminal law to penalize homosexual men, who already were the object of derision and ridicule. One particular important consequence of the law was the increased freedom of assembly for gay rights groups which led to an increase in gay rights activism during the 1970s. However, as the terms of the law were within strict guidelines, activities judged as gross indecency were still prosecuted in the decade that followed its passage.

Change began when the law was extended to Scotland in February of 1981 and, as a result of an European Court of Human Rights case, extended to Northern Ireland in 1982. The Criminal Justice and Public Order Act of 1994 lowered the age of consent for homosexual males to eighteen; it also extended the definition of rape to include male rape which had been prosecuted as buggery. In 2000, the Sexual Offenses Act of 2000 passed and equalized the age of consent to sixteen for both homosexual and heterosexual behaviors through the entire United Kingdom.

The Sexual Offenses Act of 2003, through compliance with the European Convention on Human Rights, omitted the privacy requirements in England and Wales law relating to same-sex male sexual activity, thus permitting a third party to be present. It also overhauled the way sexual offenses were dealt with by the police and courts, as it replaced previous provisions in both the 1967 Act and the original 1956 Criminal Law Act. Gross indecency and buggery were repealed from statutory law; as a result, the vast majority of the Sexual Offense Act of 1967 was repealed.

Montague Glover and Ralph Hall spent most of the latter years at “Little Windovers”, Glover’s country house in the village of Balsall Heath, a area of Birmingham and home of the Moseley School of Art. Glover’s eldest sister, Ellen, lived with them until her death in 1954 at the age of seventy-two. In his later years, Glover was described by their friends as a reserved, charming man, while Hall was known to be an outgoing, cheerful man with a distinctive cockney accent.

Montague Glover died at the age of eighty-five in 1983; he left Ralph Hall as his sole heir. After suffering a gradual decline in health, Ralph Hall died four years later at the age of seventy-four. Hall’s next of kin put their country house and Glover’s possessions up for auction. Included in the auction was a box which contained Glover’s wartime negatives from the first World War, journals, Glover’s many letters from his lovers during the decades, and the preserved collection of love letters that Hall had sent to Glover during the second World War. Many elements of Glover’s effects are contained in James Gardiner’s 1992 book, “A Class Apart: The Private Pictures of Montague Glover”.

Note: A collection of Ralph Hall’s war service love letters to Montague Glover, excerpted from Rictor Norton’s “My Dear Boy: Gay Love Letters Through the Centuries”, can be found at the Gay History and Literature site located at: https://rictornorton.co.uk/hall.htm

Top Insert Photo: Photographer Unknown, “Montague Glover”, 1916-1918, Territorial Force of the British Army

Second Insert Image: Montague Glover, Model Unknown, The Young Valet Series, Date Unknown

Third Insert Image: Montague Glover, “Three Boys at Victoria Park, East End, London”, circa 1930s

Bottom Insert Image: Montague Glover, “ Ralph Edward Hall”, Date Unknown

Elisàr von Küpffer

The Paintings and Writings of Elisàr von Küpffer

Born in February of 1872 in Tallin, an industrial port city in Estonia, Elisàr August Emanuel von Küpffer was a Baltic-German artist, poet, historian and anthropologist who used the pseudonym Elisarion for most of his writings. The only son of an aristocratic family, he was in delicate health from an early age, having suffered from scarlet fever, meningitis, arthritis and measles. Von Küpffer was a good student throughout his formative years and wrote his first play, “Don Irsino”, at the age of nine. 

In 1891 at the age of nineteen, Elisàr von Küpffer entered Saint Petersburg’s German Annenschule, a school  in the Levashovo municipal area founded for its German citizens. During this time, he met historian and philosopher Eduard von Mayer, who would become his best friend, and his first partner Agnes von Hoyningen Huene. In 1894, von Küpffer relocated to Germany where he published, in the following year, his first poetry collection “Leben und Liebe (Life and Love)”. In the autumn of 1895, he entered the Berlin Art Academy and moved in with Eduard von Mayer; Von Küpffer  later left his partner Agnes in 1896. 

Von Küpffer wrote two dramas in 1896, “Irrlichter (Wisps)” and “Der Herr der Welt (Master of the World)”, as well as three one-act plays. He published his anthology “Ehrlos {Infamous)” in the following year. After Eduard von Mayer’s graduation at the University of Halle in 1897, the two men travelled throughout Italy, Southern France and Switzerland before returning to Berlin. In the early part of 1900, Adolf Brand, whose publishing firm produced the German homosexual periodical “Der Eigene (The Unique)”, published von Küpffer’s influential anthology of homoerotic literature “Lieblingminne und Freundesliebe in der Weltiliteratur (Love of Favorites and Between Friends in World Literature). This anthology was created in part as a protest against the two-year imprisonment of Oscar Wilde in 1895.

In 1901, Elisàr von Küpffer published his first book of poems, “Auferstehung, Irdische Gedichte (Resurrection, Earthly Poems”. His book on one of the first High Renaissance painters Giovanni Antonio Bazzi, known by the nickname Il Sodoma, was published in 1908.  Together in 1911, Von Küpffer and Eduard von Mayer founded the Munich publishing house Klaristische Verlag Akropolis, through which von Küpffer published three major works: “Hymns of the Holy Castle”, “A New Flight and a Holy Castle”, and a play entitled “Aino und Tio”. French novelist and poet Jacques d’Adelswärd-Fersen, who lived in self-exile in Capri with his lover Nino Cesarini, also reviewed and published von Küpffer’s work in his gay magazine “Akademos”, named after an Attic hero in Greek mythology.

In 1913, von Küpffer had the first exhibition of his artwork at the Brogi Gallery in Florence. With growing animosity towards Germans at the outbreak of World War I, he and von Mayer left Italy and moved to Ticino, one of the Swiss Cantons, where von Küpffer established himself as a muralist and painter. Both were granted citizenship in 1922 and settled in a villa with a large art collection in the Swiss municipality of Minusio. Also a photographer, von Küpffer shot many photographic studies of young men to use in the creation of his paintings, although, most of his works featured youthful self-portraits. 

In 1911, Elisàr von Küpffer and Eduard von Mayer established the Sanctuarium Artis Elisarion, a small community in Weimar, Germany, based on a Neo-religious idea of Clarism, or clarity. In 1926, they established the second community at Minusio. During the 1930s, there was a large number of visitors; however, by the outbreak of World War II, the visitations had ceased. As von Küpffer’s health declined, he became increasingly reclusive until his death in late October of 1942, at the age of seventy. Elisàr von Küpffer’s ashes are interred in the Sanctuarium Artis Elisarion in Minusio, alongside the ashes of Eduard von Mayer, who died in 1960.

After von Küpffer’s death, Eduard von Mayer, who was the main proponent of the Clarism communities, devoted his time to documenting and securing their communal achievements, which included letters, sketches, drawings, plans, and paintings. However, he also did a purging of the  homosexual aspect of his relationship with von Küpffer: the intimate correspondence between them, traces of their association with the “Der Eigene” magazine, any contributions to the work of German sexologist Magnus Hirschfeld, and proofs of his authorship to the 1923 “Das Mysterium der Geschiechter (The Mystery of the Sexes)” which expounded the Claristic theory of the sexes. 

In his will, Eduard von Mayer left the Sanctuarium Artis Elisarion and all its contents to the Canton of Ticino and the property to the municipality of Minusio on condition that the gardens should be made accessible to the public. It was not until 1968 that the community decided to accept this gift. The material that is necessary for a better understanding of its pictorial and philosophical oeuvre was to be kept in a cupboard on the ground floor. The paintings, the urns with Elisàr von Kupffer and Eduard von Mayer’s ashes, and family heirlooms were to remain in the building. Furthermore, the gardens were to be maintained. 

Today the men’s legacy is distributed across different places in the community. Most of the surviving paintings, fragments of the former library, and the literary remains can be found in a room of the former sacred building. The inventory in its entirety has yet to be undertaken. The monumental cyclorama “Die Klarwelt der Seligen (The Clear World of the Blissful)” was saved from destruction and later installed at Monte Verità where it can be visited under provisional circumstances. The Centro Culturale Elisarion, whose program is dedicated to cultural projects in the community of Minusio, opened in 1981.

Notes: The website of the Sanctuarium Artis Elisarion, which includes a life history of Elisàr von Küpffer, a collection of his artwork, and a history of the community project,  is located at: http://www.elisarion.ch/en/welcome.html

For those interested, I recently found an article written by gay American author and mathematician Hubert Kennedy,“Reviews of Seven Gay Classics”, which discusses seven historical publications on homosexuality among which is “The Riddle of ‘Man-Manly’ Love” written by German gay emancipation advocate Karl Heinrich Ulrichs. This collection of  reviews can be found at: https://hubertkennedy.angelfire.com/Classic.pdf

Second Insert Image: Elisàr von Küpffer, “Self Portrait”, Date Unknown, Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles

Third Insert Image: Photographer Unknown, The Entrance to the Cyclorama at the Sanctuarium Arts Elisarion

Bottom Insert Image: Photographer Unknown, “Elisàr von Kupffer”, 1929-1930, Centro Culturale e Museo Elisarion, Minusio