Bert Teunissen is a Dutch photographer born in 1959 in Ruurlo, Gelderland. In 1984 he moved to Amsterdam to work as a photographer’s assistant and to become an independent commercial photographer in 1987. There he worked with all major advertising agencies and magazines for about 10 years and after that he finally started working on personal projects. For the past 16 years he has been working on his ongoing project: Domestic Landscapes. A project about well, domestic landscapes as he captures them around Europe, both Western and Eastern but lately also Japan, focusing on old houses built before electricity was common in order to preserve this disappearing culture.
No doubt Teunissen’s work is special. First of all, his devotion to this one sole project is worth admiring and explains the amazingly beautiful results. Then another major factor that sets his work apart is the use of light. Since no artificial light is used in the photos, they constitute one of the finest examples and even a hymn to the use of natural light sources. The way daylight illuminates the domestic interior and brings out the way it is built, used and decorated is out of this world reminiscent of an old poem and of of an era long lost, especially since post WW2 electric light and modern architecture replaced this magic way of living. A master for creating and recording atmospheres Teunissen brings this back to life and it is only normal that he is being compared to other great Dutch masters such as Vermeer and Pieter de Hoogh.
(All photographs belong to the artist.)
Rob Hornstra is a Dutch photographer born in 1975. He usually publishes his own photography- documentary books, usually depicting modern Russia. Having studied Social and Legal Services first, and after having worked as a probation officer and bartender, he went on to study photographic design at the Utrecht School of the Arts. Upon graduation he has worked for a lot of newspapers and magazines and long term personal projects. Since he considers books much more important than exhibitions, he wants to edit and be in charge of everything he publishes. When he is not on a photographic documentary mission he does not carry a camera, but when he takes his famous snapshots he prefers to use medium and large format cameras.
His snapshot style as well as his subject matter (post-soviet, post-communist Russia) definitely got me interested at once. In his work he chooses to depict the people on the margins of the capitalism explosion, those who never cashed in -former factory workers, cab drivers, drug addicts, homeless people. His kind of honesty might often come as a shock to some but is quite liberating to others, because looking behind the facade of money and wealth the way Hornstra does. The atmosphere is realistic and nostalgic at the same time, the colours are intimate and radiating a warmth that is not so common in documentary photography, the person seems familiar and so does the setting. Of course I also love the distinct surrealist touch to be found in his amazingly precise snapshot style.
All images belong to the artist.
There is not much biographical info on Chinese photographer Zeng Han, born in 1974, China. He received a BA in International Journalism and Communication at the Jinan University in Guangzhou and attended the artist residency program at the School of Visual Arts, New York. And then all in all, his resume is filled with shows and awards that are absolutely well deserved. The focus of his work is on portraits and landscapes and how the traditional blurs into pop culture and the modern.
I love his work because it is pure and fresh and real and of course raw. What I also love is the artist’s statement that goes with each set. The originality of his work is in agreement with his interest in a different kind of reality, one superior to the reality we think we know. His records of modern China and its transformations are so much more than simply documenting, because he manages to look past what most people see and blend rich Chinese tradition with contemporary China. The issues and themes in his work and the nature of it make it work on a personal as well as on a social level.
(All images belong to the artist.)
Christopher Anderson, born in 1970, spent most of his childhood in Texas, where his father was a preacher. Soon he moved to New York and and then Paris. He learned how to develop and print in the lab of the Dallas Morning News, and was soon hired by a Colorado newspaper. However, the life of an employee photographer wasn’t what Anderson was looking after, so he left in order to do freelance assignments. Initially working in colour but then also in black and white, he has been traveling the world documenting social issues and conflict zones. In 2010 he became a full member of Magnum photos and is currently based in New York.
There are lots of things that are special about Christopher Anderson and one of them surely is his famous 1999 journey on a handmade wooden boat along with Haitian refugees trying to get to the USA. The boat sank in the Carribean and and it did not only change the photographers perspectives in his work but also established a new genre, that of experiential documentary. He is not a distant observer of the situations around him, but he is actually living in them, and this allows him to depict them very differently, raw and real. To him a photograph is basically about feelings and emotions and if that isn’t captured, then there is no point in the picture’s existence. He obviously manages to capture the often self experienced emotions perfectly.
All photos belong to Christopher Anderson and Magnum Photos.
I don’t know so much about Bieke Depoorter, but I know everything that needs be known. She was born in 1986 and received her master’s degree in photography from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts (KASK) in Ghent in 2009. She chooses to work on autonomous projects mostly, such as her series “Ou Menya”, for which she traveled through Russia and spent the night at strangers’ places in order to photograph their lives. She is generally interested in family intimacy and the way people interact in their homes. Depoorter has rightfully received numerous awards, including the Magnum Expression Award. Her first book was published this year.
My favourite thing about this artist is her talent for realizing and revealing the human condition under a new light. Each photograph in its stunning colours and honesty actually tells a story and you just feel like you know these people and at the same time you want to know more about them. I like how they come without a text, the uncertainty and the intimacy they create. It is magnificent documentary photography, raw yet never violating but also art in its beautiful presentation and they way the concept was conceived. Bieke Depoorter is definitely on her way to become one of the masters of photography.
All images and copyrights belong to the artist.
Marilyn Bridges is an American photographer born in New Jersey in 1948. She studied at the Rochester Institute of Technology, earning her Bachelor of Fine Arts in 1979 and her Master of Fine Arts in 1981. She started her photography career by working for travel magazines in 1970 and photographing Brazil in 1972. In 1976 Bridges became interested in aerial photography when she photographed the Nazca plain in Peru. Ever since she has won so many awards and has developed a really breathtaking style for black and white aerial photographs of ancient as well as modern landscapes, and extraordinary or religious sites. Her photos unlike most aerial ones function as sources of information and documentation but also as fine art of the finest and self expression.
Bridges’ passion for flying and her passion for photography are perfectly combined. In her work she documents and deciphers real hidden messages of mankind over a span of thousands of years. When you look at her photography you appreciate structures and places differently, in a way that is impossible from the ground and it makes you wonder who they are made for. According to Marilyn Bridges what she photographs was and still is being made for the eyes of the gods and this is what it feels like after looking for a while. The strange ritualistic nature of the pyramids doesn’t differ much from the skyscrapers of New York City. Bridges manages to give these sites the beauty and majesty they enclose. At the same time you have the chance to witness the industrialization and destruction of the modern landscape and how this is not definitely a sign of progress. Bridges work is geological but at the same time so strongly human that she surely deserves to be considered a classic.
I do not love all of Nan Goldin’s work. And I’m one of those who believe that after lots of years she was forced to immitate her own original style. However, some of her work is definitely among the most brilliant that the world of photography has to offer. Nan Goldin was born in Washington, D. C. in 1953 and grew up in Boston to middle class Jewish parents. Shortly after her older sister’s suicide she was introduced to the love of her life: a photo camera. She began taking pictures of people in her city, mostly within the gay and transexual community and in 1973. After she moved to New York she got mostly to photograph people form the post punk scene and other subcultures, such as homosexuals or drug addicts. She now lives and works in New York and Paris.
One thing i certainly love about her is the fact that she is one of the first to introduce this style of snapshot photography. Honest, intimate, natural, rough around the edges. Poverty, or sub cultures and drugs are not exploited like it happened with many other photographers later on. They are treated with a sincere interest and poetic realism, instead. The focus of her work is not on the rich, the famous, the beautiful, but on people that are different one way or another, situations that would have been considered ugly by many, and should best remain hidden. Which partly explains why lots of wannabe open-minded people get upset about her work. Nan Goldin was one of the few who were brave enough to deal with this kind of themes as they were, real and raw, like a punch in the gut. Her life and her work are a completely unique most intriguing blend and reinvention of photography, documentary and art.