Posts Tagged ‘Magdalena Sole’

Four Continents: 30 Photographers

December 29, 2011

For the third year, we’re celebrating the NEW YEAR with updates from some 30 members of our TWO LOOKS online photographic community from around the world, which includes first books, upcoming and current exhibitions, new blogs, and long-term projects.  Congratulations to all of you.  

In addition, we’d like to give a special thanks to everyone who’s supported Rebecca’s “My Dakota” book and upcoming exhibition in 2012.  We couldn’t have done it without your support.  (There is still one limited ed. of “My Dakota” available, as well as a few of the handmade artist books; please contact Alex for more information: rnorriswebb@yahoo.com).  Near the end of the column, you’ll also find two worthy projects you may want to consider supporting.  And, as some of you have requested, this column ends with a short list of some of our upcoming 2012 workshops.

So, to all of you, we’d like to wish you a very productive NEW YEAR, and — as always — please stay in touch.—Alex Webb and Rebecca Norris Webb

Please leave your congratulations to fellow photographers in the comment section at the end of this blog posting or contact him or her directly through his/her website.

NEW BOOKS

Magdalena Sole, cover of her new book, "New Delta Rising"

Some of you may remember New York City-based photographer Magdalena Sole (originally from Spain) from the Venice and New York workshops.  Above, is the cover of her first photography book, NEW DELTA RISING, which will be available from Amazon in January.  You’ll also find, below, the cover of L.A.-based photographer Alia Malley’s new book, A CAVALIER IN SIGHT OF A VILLAGE (Havana and Brooklyn workshops), which was funded thanks to a very successful Kickstarter campaign, and Norwegian photographer Marie Sjovold’s DUST CATCHES LIGHT (Norway workshop), a book which was launched this fall in Paris.

We’ve also included covers of Austin, Texas photographer Bill McCullough’s limited edition book, TECHNOCOLOR LIFE: AMERICAN WEDDING (Woodstock workshop), Canadian photographer Richard Marazzi’s book on Cuba,  EPOCA (Toronto workshop), British photographer Justin Partyka’s FIELD WORK (Cadiz workshop), Canadian photographer Ewa Zebrowski’s artist’s book, SEA OF LANTERNS (Venice and Aperture workshops) with text by Anne Michaels, a book which will be launched at the Art Gallery of Ontario in May 2012, and award-winning Swedish photographer Per-Anders Pettersson’s catalog of photographs from South Africa, EKHAYA (Project Workshop @ Caption Gallery).

You’ll find more details about the above publications — including where to purchase them — on the photographers’s websites,  as well as on some of the additional links listed below (such as the Amazon link for Magdalena). — AW and RNW

–Where to buy Magdalena’s new book, NEW DELTA RISING: (will be available in January 2012)
Amazon.com: New Delta Rising (9781617031502): Magdalena Solé, Barry H. Smith, Rick Bragg, Tom Lassiter: Books
–Magdalena’s website: www.solepictures.com

Marie Sjovold, cover of her book, "Dust Catches Light"

–In U.S., the book will soon be offered by Photo Eye – http://www.photoeye.com,  Currently, here’s where it can be ordered in Norway and Sweden:

–Marie’s website: www.mariesjovold.no

Alia Malley, cover of her book, "A Cavalier in Sight of a Village"

Book is available at:  http://www.aliamalley.com/cav_book.html

Alia’s website: www.aliamalley.com

Richard Marazzi, "Época"

Richard Marazzi, "Época"

Richard’s website:  http://www.richardmarazziphoto.com/

Bill McCullough, from the book "Technicolor Life: American Wedding"

Bill McCullough, from the book "Technicolor Life: American Wedding"

Bill’s website: http://www.billmcculloughphotography.com/

Justin Paryka, "Field Work"

Justin Partyka, "Field Work"

 Justin’s website: http://www.justinpartyka.com/

Ewa Zebrowski, from the artist book, Sea of Lanterns, text by Anne Michaels

Order “Sea of Lanterns” at this link on Photo Eye.

Ewa’s website: http://www.ewazebrowski.com/

Per-Anders Pettersson, cover of catalog, "Ekhaya"

Per’s website: http://www.peranderspettersson.com

Susan Berger, Jersey City, NJ 2010

Susan Berger, Jersey City, NJ 2010

NEW EXHIBITIONS/GALLERIES

CONGRATULATIONS to many of you with recent and upcoming exhibitions, including U.S. photographer, Susan Berger‘s, MARTIN LUTHER KING BOULEVARD, which will be on view at the Griffin Museum of Photography near Boston from January 5, 2012 to March 1, 2012. (Susan was recently in our Book Weekend Workshop @ Radius this past fall.) Also, New England photographer Chris Chadbourne‘s STATE FAIR photographs (Photo Project  @ Caption Gallery) will open next June at the Griffin Museum, and then travel to venues in Las Vegas, Nevada, and North Carolina (the work was also shown at the New England Photo Biennial –see photo below).  San Francisco-based Jane Paradise , recently who attended our UNBOUND workshop at LOOK3, has work in a group exhibiton at the Bedford Gallery near San Francisco, including this photograph below from her BLUE COMMA series from Cape Cod, which was selected for the Bedford Gallery show by SFMOMA’s Sandra Phillips and Oakland Museum’s Drew Johnson (here’s a link to a video interview of the two curators about the exhibition).  Jane will also have work in Buenos Aires and near Boston at the Griffin Museum in 2012.

For all of you who remember Norwegian photographer Tone Elin Solholm (Venice and Barcelona workshops), she will be having an exhibition of 20 photographs from her first book,  THE GIANTS’ LIVING ROOM, at the noted Oslo gallery, Fotografiens Hus (House of Photography) from February 9-26, 2012, which will include the poem Rebecca wrote for the book (Tone’s photograph and Rebecca’s poem below).

U.S. photographer Susan Cardona (CPW Workshop) will have an exhibition, IN WASHINGTON COUNTY, this summer in Eastport, Maine.  New York City-based British photographer, Shane Gray, will have an exhibition of his STREET PHOTOGRAPHS this spring at the Lunasas bar at 126 1st Av. (between 7/8 St.), and you can see his latest projects and the exact dates of the show on his website. One of  Minny Lee‘s photographs from her Self-Portrait series is currently featured in the group exhibition, DREAMS, at the Center for Fine Art Photography, Fort Collins, until January 7, 2012.

Belgium photographer Serge Maes — who some of you may remember from the Barcelona and New York workshops — currently has photographs in a joint show in Bussum, the Netherlands, until the end of December, and will have a new website up and running soon.  And one of the youngest photographers in our community, Austrian photographer MAFALDA RAKOS (Photo Project @ Caption Gallery), will have some of her photographs of her fellow teenagers in the photography festival in Braga, Portugal, “Entcontros da Imagem,” in fall 2012.

Lastly, we are pleased to announce the opening of a new collective gallery in Seattle by two of our former PCNW workshop photographers, Minh Carrico and Carina del Rosario — along with a third photographer, Su’J’n Chon.  The gallery is called  IDEA Odyssey.

Jane Paradise @ the Bedford Gallery in California

Tone Elin Solholm, from her upcoming House of Photography exhibit, "The Giants' Living Room," in Oslo in February. Rebecca's poem -- "Seven Rooms" -- will also be included in the Fotografiens Has exhibition.

 Remember when the world had seven rooms?

Ours had a back staircase and pocket doors. 

One winter, I had a room under the wingback chair only I could enter.

Next summer, I hid in the flowering plum for hours, & my mother called & called.

Flattening their wings, bats crawled under any closed door.  No one was safe.

Falling asleep, my book half open, I dreamt I was flying.

Since then, I’ve visited six continents and three oceans.

Now, the world with seven rooms lives inside of me.

Slowly I climb the back staircase.

My dead brother swings me around and around — finally lets go.

I fly through the air.

–Rebecca Norris Webb

Chris Chadbourne, installation view of the 2011 New England Photo Biennial

Chris Chadbourne, installation view of the 2011 New England Photo Biennial

Sue Cardona, Lobster Fisherman, Jonesport

Sue Cardona, Lobster Fisherman, Jonesport

Shane Gray, Dining Hall Scaffolder

Shane Gray, Dining Hall Scaffolder

Minny Lee, Self-portrait, Mestre, Italy 2011

Minny Lee, Self-portrait, Mestre, Italy 2011

 

S.M. Maes, Barcelona, Spain

S.M. Maes, Barcelona, Spain

Mafalda Rakos

Mafalda Rakos

Carina A. del Rosario (right) with IDEA Odyssey gallery co-founder Minh Carrico. (The third co-founder, SuJ'n Chon, is not pictured.)

Carina A. del Rosario (right) with IDEA Odyssey gallery co-founder Minh Carrico. (The third co-founder, SuJ'n Chon, is not pictured.)

NEW PHOTO AGENCY

Sebastián Liste, from the series "On This Side of the Mountain"

Sebastián Liste, from the series "On This Side of the Mountain"

SEBASTIAN LISTE – who some of you met at our UNBOUND workshop @ LOOK3 this summer —  is now a Featured Photographer at Reportage by Getty Images.  And, in case you missed it, here’s Sebastian’s two-part interview with photographer, writer, digital tech and our studio manager, TRENT DAVIS BAILEY, on Daylight Magazine earlier this year:  Link to Part I.  Link to Part II.

NEW BLOG

As a commercial photographer, how do you continue to inspire your personal photography?  For Colorado wedding photographer PRESTON UTLEY, he decided to start a blog devoted to his personal work, called THE SNAP SHOT DIARIES.  We look forward to following Preston’s new blog in 2012.

Preston Utley, "Snow Capped," from his new blog, "The Snap Shot Diaries"

Preston’s website

FUNDRAISING

What better way to start the NEW YEAR than to contribute to documentary projects??  Below are two we think you should consider: The first is Russian photographer OLGA KRAVET’s GROZNY: Nine Cities (Olga was in our Moscow Workshop in 2007), a collaborative project with two of her fellow Russian photographers, Maria Morina and Oksana Yushko.  Here is a link to the Grozny fundraising page. The second is L.A.-based photographer and documentary filmmaker SARA TERRY’s FOLK (the doc’s cinematographer, HENRY JACOBSON,is also a photographer whose work was recently featured on VISURA). Any amount you give will help support these very worthy projects.

Sara Terry, FOLK a feature-length documentary

Sara Terry, FOLK a feature-length documentary

NEW PROJECTS

David Bacher

David Bacher

We think it’s fitting to end FOUR CONTINENTS where it all begins — by taking a look at some new and ongoing photography projects from around the world.  First we’ll start in Europe with three talented street photographers — Paris-based DAVID BACHER, French photographer DAVID BELAY (You may remember David Belay from our recent Munich workshop and our Peru workshop), and Dutch photographer BAS LOSEKOOT (Caption Gallery workshop).   We’ve also included from Argentina, ALEJANDRO KIRCHUK  and his moving portraits of his grandparents, as well as Venezuelan-born GUILLERMO DE YAVORSKY’S tender and surreal Skype portraits of friends and family around the world, and many of these screen shots were taken in St. Barts where he now lives.  We end with Greek photographer DIMITRI MELLOS  and his photographs from the streets of New York, where he’s based, and Chinese photographer MAX WANG, who recently finished a second comprehensive project photographing and interviewing 100 people across Canada, ages 1 to 100 (Max recently did a similar project in China, as those of you may remember from the Unbound Workshop at LOOK3 this past summer).

David Bacher’s website: http://www.davidbacher.com/

David Belay

David Belay

David Belay’s photos: http://maddav.jalbum.net/4continents/index.html

Alejandro Kirchuk

Alejandro Kirchuk

Alejandro’s website: http://www.alejandrokirchuk.com.ar/

Bas Losekoot, from "Sao Paulo and the Urban Millennium"

Bas Losekoot, from "Sao Paulo and the Urban Millennium"

Bas’s website: http://www.baslosekoot.com/

Dimitri Mellos, 2011

Dimitri Mellos, 2011

Dimitri’s website: http://www.dimitrimellos.com

Yinan Max Wang, Aunjelica, 2011

Yinan Max Wang, Aunjelica, 2011

Max’s website: http://www.yinanmaxwang.com/

Guillermo de Yavorsky, from the series "FarAway So Close (Skype Portraits)"

Guillermo de Yavorsky, from the series "FarAway So Close (Skype Portraits)"

Guillermo’s photos:

http://web.me.com/deyavorsky/South_African_Football/index.html

http://web.me.com/deyavorsky/Skype_portaits/index.html


UPCOMING WORKSHOPS WITH ALEX AND REBECCA

–THE STREETS OF HAVANA, Sunday, Jan. 22 thru Saturday, Jan. 28, 2012.  There are only a few places left in this upcoming workshop sponsored by Norway’s Nordic Light.  For more information follow this link.

–WEEKEND WORKSHOP IN SINGAPORE, Friday evening, March 9, 2012, thru Saturday, March 11, 2012.  An intensive weekend workshop with the Webbs and Radius Books creative director and noted book designer, David Chickey. More information about this workshop will appear soon on the Magnum website and on the workshop page of the webbnorriswebb website.

–WEEKEND WORKSHOP @ APERTURE, NY, Friday evening, March 23, thru Sat., March 25, 2012. Do you know where you’re going next with your photography –– or where it’s taking you?   An intensive weekend workshop with Alex and Rebecca. Check the Aperture site midJanuary for details about fees and how to apply.

–FINDING YOUR VISION WORKSHOP @ CAPTION GALLERY, BROOKLYN, NY.  Sunday May 20 thru Friday May 25, 2012.* A week-long photographing and editing workshop where each photographers begins to explore his or her own way of photographing and how to edit intuitively.  Will include exercises, light room tutorials, and a presentation by a noted book editor. Applications open January 9, 2012, and early acceptance notification will start on February 9, 2012.  Check the workshop page of the webbnorriswebb website for fees, application process and further details.

*If there is enough interest, we will explore offering a second session of the Finding Your Vision Workshop @ Caption Gallery the week before —  Sunday May 13 thru Friday May 18, 2012.

FOUR CONTINENTS: 17 Photographers

December 21, 2010

We invited photographers we’ve met in workshops around the world — and through this blog — to help us celebrate the holidays by posting a photograph and giving us an update about their work.  So here are images from 17 photographers from FOUR CONTINENTS around the world.

To everyone in our online photographic community, we’d like to wish you a holiday season filled with joy and love. –– Alex Webb and Rebecca Norris Webb

Matthew Goddard-Jones, New York, 2010

 

Congratulations to Australian photographer, MATTHEW GODDARD-JONES, whose above photograph was a finalist for a National Geographic prize.  Matt took this photograph during our Master Class this past May in New York.

Matthew Goddard-Jones website

Bill McCullough

Austin-based photographer, BILL MCCULLOUGH, often finds moments on the edges of the weddings he photographs professionally — and passionately, too.  “I love and am obsessed with what I do,” says Bill, who is also a musician. The above is from his limited edition book, “Technicolor Life: American Wedding,’ which you can peruse (and order!) online.

Bill McCullough website

Wenjie Yang, "Low City" exhibition

Chinese photographer, WENJIE YANG — who some of you know as “BaiBai” from the Oslo Magnum Workshop — has been quite busy working on personal projects as well as photographing for clients since she graduated recently from the ICP photography program.  For those in New York, be sure and visit her current exhibition, “Low City, Photographs from Chongqing,” at the Chinese-American Arts Council in Manhattan’s Chinatown.

Wenjie Yang website

Wenjie Yang blog

Magdalena Sole, from her upcoming book, "New Delta Rising"

New York-based photographer, MAGDALENA SOLE (who some of you know from the Magnum New York Workshop or the Venice Workshop), is finishing her first book of photographs, which is about the Mississippi Delta.  Called “New Delta Rising,” the book will be released next year by the Dreyfus Health Foundation and distributed by the University of Mississippi Press.  It includes a essay by southern writer, Rick Bragg, and was one of those rare books by another photographer that we chose to edit this year.  You’ll read more about Magdalena’s book next year on this blog, after it’s released.

Magdalena Sole website.

Lisen Stibeck, Palestinian refugee camp, Beirut, Lebanon, 2010

Swedish photographer, LISEN STIBECK, is working on a recent project that has taken her to this refugee camp on the outskirts of Beirut (above), as well as to other struggling neighborhoods around the globe, including those in Syria, Lebanon, and, next year, Mexico.  Lisen’s project arose from the work she’s been doing at an orphanage in Marrakesh, where she is currently mentoring teenaged girls.

Lisen Stibeck’s website

Alessandro Marchi

Italian photographer, ALESSANDRO MARCHI, who some of you met in the Lucca Workshop, has photographs that will be exhibited as part of the Format International Photography Festival from March 4, 2011- to April, 3, 2011, in Derby, UK.   Here is a link to the series that will be shown called, “Floating Between Possible Breakdowns.”

You can also see a multimedia presentation of his work from another project, DZMK, in which Alessandro has been photographing many of the workers in a steel factory in southeastern Kazakhstan.

Alessandro Marchi website

Dimitri Mellos, New York, 2010

Above is an image from a long-term street photography project by Greek photographer, DIMITRI MELLOS, on New York City, called “Its Strangest Patterns,” a title inspired by a wonderful quote by novelist Joseph O’Neill.  Some of you met Dimitri at either the Magnum New York Workshop or the first Photo Project Workshop in Dumbo, Brooklyn, this past fall.  We will feature more from his project on the blog next year in an upcoming UNBOUND column.

Dimitri Mellos website

Tone Elin Solholm, cover of her new book, "The Giants' Living Room"

Norwegian designer and photographer, TONE ELIN SOLHOLM — from both the Venice and Barcelona workshops — had her new book, “The Giants’ Living Room,” featured in a recent NEW BOOK column on the blog, a book with a prose poem written by Rebecca called, “Remember When the World Had Seven Rooms…”  To see more images from Tone’s book — and to order a copy of the trade edition or the limited edition of the book — visit Tone’s website below.

Tone Elin Solholm website

Yvonne Liu, Toronto, 2010

Some of you met Chinese photographer, YVONNE LIU, at the Toronto Magnum Workshop in May this past year, in which she took the above photograph.  Although relatively new to photography, Yvonne’s enthusiasm and grace and compassion inspired many of us who have been photographing much longer.   She’s currently working on a new project in Tibet, and will be, we’re sure, an invaluable member of our upcoming Hong Kong Workshop in January.

Yvonne Liu website

Shea Naer

LA-based photographer, SHEA NAER, from our New York Master Class last May in Dumbo, had seven portraits from her series, “Pugilists” published in the NYC journal, Canteen, this past summer.  This coincided with a group exhibition, which included some of this same work, at the powerHouse Arena in Brooklyn last August.

Shea Naer website

David Bacher, Sud Tirol, 2010

“At least once a year I visit the South Tirol, which is the area where my father was born. It is like a pilgrimage back to his roots and mine as well, as my parents often took me there when I was growing up. This past October I spent a week near the town of Brixen with my father. One of the neighboring valleys is called the Vilnösstal. It is where the mountaineer Rheinhold Messner grew up and is the location of one of the most famous and breathtaking massifs in the Dolomites, the “Geislergebiet.”

Being near the mountain fills me with an overwhelming source of energy, purpose, and place. It is the most beautiful place I know.” — David Bacher

David Bacher website

Francois Dagenais

Canadian cinematographer and photographer, FRANCOIS DAGENAIS, currently has work included in three group exhibitions in the U.S., including “HumanKind,” a juried invitational photo exhibition at the powerHouse Arena that opened on December 17th, and “Scene on the Street: Photos from Public Places,” at the Vermont Photo Space Gallery, an exhibition which was curated by National Geographic photographer and VII member, Ed Kashi.

Francois Dagenais website

Justin Partyka, Isleham, Cambridgeshire, 2010

“This year I was commissioned by the publishers Full Circle Editions to produce a new photo essay to appear in their reissue of the classic oral history collection ‘Fenwomen,’ first published by Virago in 1975.

The essay I have produced, ‘Black Fen they call it….’ (taken from the first line of the book) was made in and around the village of Isleham in the Cambridgeshire Fens, where the oral history was originally collected by the author Mary Chamberlain. Twenty-three photographs will be featured in the book.

The book went to press on 29 November, and will be available in January. A series of events and exhibitions are currently being planned for 2011. Details of the book are available from the publishers website, where the book can also be ordered.”–Justin Partyka

Justin Partyka website

Thomas Lindahl Robinson, Cuba

THOMAS LINDAHL ROBINSON is continuing to work on his long-term project on Cuba, and the above photograph is from this series.  Thomas is also working on a project on China, which is not yet up on the website below, as well as blogging.

Thomas Lindahl Robinson website

Thomas Lindahl Robinson blog

Steinar Haugland, cover of his Blurb book, "Aloneliness"

Norwegian photographer, STEINAR HAUGLAND, who some of you met during the Venice Workshop, has published his first Blurb book, “Aloneliness,” and you’ll find the cover above.

Steinar Haugland Blurb book, Aloneliness

Uwe Schober

“This summer in Spain, I have been working on a series that I have named ‘Perturbadora Pasión | Disturbing Passion | After Francisco Zurbarán.’ The idea came when I was walking through the streets of Barcelona at night and saw all the homeless people sleeping in church entrances, on benches, shops and restaurants. The characteristically yellow light reminded me of Goya and especially of Zurbarán. So I decided to photograph the homeless in just that way with a reference to Spanish masters of the 17th century – not to mock the homeless, quite the opposite: to give them a different voice.  I will exhibit part of the series in a group exhibition this winter in the ‘atelier freier fotografen’ in Berlin.”–Uwe Schober

Uwe Schober’s website

David Belay, Istanbul, 2010

 

“I was drawn to Istanbul both by Alex’s book and by the many things I had heard about Istanbul from so many different people. I found a city that is so complex and multifaceted that, in my opinion, the best way to try and capture its spirit is just to ‘sample’ it, as in this wonderful enumeration of places, moments, etc. in the essay by Orhan Pamuk featured at the end of Alex’s book. It seems to me that a collection of pictures is just the visual equivalent of that, and therefore that photography is a great medium to approach this unique city.”–David Belay

To see more of David Belay’s photographs

TWO QUESTIONS: On Returning and On Street Photography; On Magic Realism and On Paradox

October 24, 2009

For October, we decided to include TWO QUESTIONS from two photographers, Magdalena Sole and John Masters (find out more about them below).  In this same vein, please feel free to leave TWO COMMENTS –– one about one of Rebecca’s responses, one about one of Alex’s –– after this posting. ––AW and RNW

MAGDALENA SOLE:  Rebecca, you talk about returning to a place like Cuba some eleven times. How do you keep that initial fresh eye –– that untainted first impression that helps one see the image? What changes when you return again and again to the same place?

RNW, Remedios, Cuba, 2008

RNW, Remedios, Cuba, 2008

RNW:  Good question, Magdalena.  You know, I’ve never really thought about it, but I think, for me at least, I tend to discover fresher and more unique images in a place the more trips I make.  It’s somewhat akin to love.  You can fall in love at first sight, but it takes considerably longer to understand the nuances, the strengths and weaknesses, and the uniqueness of that person you’re in love with.

So for me, I don’t tend to have the experience you mention my first trip to a place – the fresh and untainted impression you mention.  I find it’s only after at least two or three or perhaps more trips to a place that my vision tends to deepen and I begin to see the place in a more unique and complicated way, perhaps echoing my experience of getting better acquainted with a place.

MAGDALENA SOLE: Alex, you once told me that you walk for miles every day to find your pictures, but then you also remain put in one place for hours. When you stay in one place, do you start talking to the people and connecting with them, or do you remain on the periphery? Later, do you go back to people and places you know?

AW:  Every situation is different.  In some situations it works for me to just walk through the situation, photographing and rarely talking to anyone.  But in other situations, especially when I end up hanging out for extensive periods of time, I certainly will talk — as well as of course watch and wait.  If I sense the possibility of a picture, but it doesn’t happen that day, I may return another day — or even, occasionally, another week, another month, or another year.  I try to work with whatever the world gives me.

JOHN MASTERS: Alex, does the philosophy of magical realism allow you to see something through the viewfinder or in an image that perhaps others do not see or feel?

AW, Paratins, Brazil, 1993

AW, Parintins, Brazil, 1993

AW: When photographing in the Brazilian and Peruvian Amazon I sometimes felt as if I was stepping into the background of a magic realist novel.  In the Amazon, the fantastic often seems to encroach on the mundane:  at festivals people build immense floats depicting Amazonian creatures, children dress as huge fish for Earth Day, and monkeys and coatimundis are kept as household pets.  Would I have responded differently to such phenomenon if I had not read Garcia Marquez and Vargas Llosa?    I would guess the answer is both yes and no.  My fascination with such phenomenon may well be more attuned, more intense, because of my readings.  On the other hand, irrespective of any knowledge of magic realism, it’s pretty hard not to be taken in by the spectacle of fifteen-foot-high paper mache and plastic anacondas, tarantulas, and mermaids  at the Boi-Bumba Festival in Parintins.

JOHN MASTERS:  Rebecca, do you try to convey any specific emotion that you may have towards one of your images to the observer or would you rather they interpret the image in their own way?

RNW:  Like poetry, what I love about photography is its suggestiveness, how an image –– whether in poetry or photography –– will resonate in different ways for different people.

That said, I am especially intrigued with people’s complicated response to the natural world –– emotionally, politically, philosophically.  The challenge is how to visually convey the philosophical paradoxes and emotional tensions that define our experience of this complicated eco-political terrain.  Each project I’ve worked on is a variation on this theme.  For instance, in my current work-in-progress, My Dakota, my most personal project to date, I only recently realized that this project is about “looking for a contradiction to inhabit,” as the poet, Rilke, once wrote.  For me, that contradiction is trying to photograph South Dakota’s “geography of hope” (as Wallace Stegner once famously called the West) and “geography of loss,” my brother’s death and his eternity.  For me, the contradiction I’m trying to inhabit is My Dakota.

Magdalena Sole, Venice, 2008

Magdalena Sole, Venice, 2008

Magdalena Solé was born in Reus. When she was seven her family departed Franco’s Spain in the middle of the night. The why is an unrevealed family secret. Life in 1960’s Switzerland for émigré Spanish was like life in 1950s New York City for Puerto Ricans—fitting in was a full time job. By 20 she was long fluent in Swiss German, could pass as a native and graduated as one of only two Spaniards from a University with a degree in teaching.  As a teacher the pay was good and the future was bright, but the world beckoned. In the mid –1980s Magdalena arrived in New York City, illiterate in English and living in a walk-up on the lower East Side. She became married, had a son and found herself poor. Then life veered.

In 1989, when global branding was a little-known field, Magdalena founded and ran a graphic design business, TransImage, that specialized in translating visual and verbal images for different counties. By this time she spoke seven languages fluently and had lived in four different countries, so she understood how confusing cultural idiosyncrasies could be. The business, located in Tribeca with offices in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco, thrived for twelve years until she sold it and attended Columbia Film school. She graduated with a Masters of Fine Art in 2002. Magdalena loved making film and wrote, directed and produced her own, A Zen Tale, which had a New York theatrical run. It was such a thrill to see her film’s name on a Manhattan marquee. Her last film, Man On Wire, on which she was the Unit Production Manager, won an Oscar in 2009. Despite her accomplishments, film was just too much business, with too many people, too big a budget and too little art. But she loved that camera and the images she could create. She still wanted to explore the world of image and story.

Photography was the perfect medium. No gaffers, gofers, best boys, script girls or craft services. Just her, the light and a subject. The Leica rangefinder became her partner in this exploration. For the past two years Magdalena has worked exclusively in photography. Her current project, Forgotten Places, is her road to the interior of the cities she loves. These urban environments exist at the edges, in immigrant and working class communities where beauty is found in displaced spirits and peeling paint.

Magdalena’s website: www.solepictures.com

John Masters, Roma family

John Masters, Roma family

John Masters was born in Europe to American parents in the mid-1960s.  For the first year of his life, he smelled the heat of Italy and southern France–limestone, lavender and rosemary bushes mixed with salt and diesel.   He answered to ‘Giovanni’ for several years.  His first camera was a Kodak Instamatic in 1972. Then there were a series of Polaroid devices, until 1990, when he purchased his first film SLR, the sturdy workhorse Canon AE-1. He used this one camera for almost ten years. It once fell a short distance off a balcony in Florence, bouncing off the marble stairs below, yet survived.  Four years later, after suffering from progressive shutter-ping, its internal workings ceased.  This was Bulgaria 1999, and Masters’ life had changed dramatically.

Through a series of fortuitous events, he found a pattern in the world-fabric worth following.  He fell in love again with travel, and those magical places we find ourselves when we go.  In mirrors and windows he discovered secret doorways leading to abstract realms; in bus stations he waited while time shifted around him. He found himself speaking foreign tongues, listening to wild sounds, and relishing the zest of unexplored philosophical cuisine, especially Macedonian charcuterie.  He developed a love of intellectual investigation which also fuels his eye.   Like Jean Cocteau, he believes that “The camera is but the third eye of the person using it.”  With his camera and notebook in hand, he is a visual cartographer; stopping to smell the roses, chat with a shop-keeper, have tea with a friend, and watch the river flow.

John Masters lives in upstate New York on an old farm. He uses several different cameras. He still uses a Canon AE-1.
John’s website: www.sidelit.com


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