Peter Rigaud is a portrait photographer working between Berlin and Vienna.
He works worldwide for French Vogue, German Vogue, National Geographic, Stern, W Magazine, Süddeutsche Zeitung Magazin, Zeit Magazin, New York Times, among others.
Chris Schoonover is a fashion and art photographer from the greater NYC area.
"I’ve always thought my photos to have photo-journalistic style where my subjects are interacting with the environment that surrounds them, but I think it’s becoming something else. The more I photograph, the more I want to control the scene and subjects my photos. I’ve been thinking in film stills. Some images of scenes are fun, some are a little darker and others are just people living. There is a story, but I make an image and leave the rest up to imagination."
Saleem Ahmed was born in 1989 in Detroit, Michigan. He lived the majority of his life in Connecticut, until moving to Philadelphia recently. He studied photojournalism at Temple University and completed his MFA in photography from the University of Hartford in 2014. He currently works as a professor at Temple University, while also working on new projects.
The photographs shown are from his book Tasveer, published July 2014.
(originally posted by Dale Rothenberg)
I first came accross Michael's work years ago on the internet under the name "Tinytinybirds".
This nickname he probably chose himself is perfect to convey the tenderness and the fragility we can feel watching his unique, personal way of shooting photographs. I have always felt extremely touched by his intimate though universal approach to make pictures. Michael's work is a visual and written diary. His work is a personal narative involving his own life with family in the rural south. The heroes of that story are his wife and child, and himself of course, as we can almost always feel this off-camera presence of the photographer, always tenderly, not self-absorbed, sharing the intimacy of his own happiness and misfortunes, with the greatest modesty.
"I make work that is about my life. Personal stories. Some beautiful, others not. For the better part of the past five years I've been documenting the life of my wife and our new family. Through living in three states, and countless other journeys.
I'm a fairly private person in my everyday life. Most of the people I see outside of my family don't even know I am a photographer. The struggle I've had comes from both making and sharing this work. Should I be enjoying these moments instead of trying to make work out of them? Do I really need to write about getting arrested? How much of my personal life do people need to know about? I think it's important to share it all though. I can't see myself making work any other way.
I work in three different formats, 120, 35, and instant, along with writing and printmaking. Trying to make them all work together, being cohesive, and not too cluttered has always been a challenge for me. I make books for myself to help work this through. Arrange, rearrange, rewrite, rework. It's easy to just group them together by the format I shot them, but it's not my total vision. I want it to be seen by others how I see it. How I work it.
I don't make a living off photography. I spend five days a week being a dairy manager at a grocery store. Most days I'm awake from 3am to 11pm. Working and helping my wife raise our two daughters. Photography somehow fits in between those times. It's hard, can be frustrating, but I take it for what it is. This is my life. My passion."
Michael Christopher McCraw is photographer currently living and working in Atlanta, Georgia, USA.
Discover more at michaelmccraw.net
(Interview by Alex Crétey Systermans)
Oliver Mark, *1963, lives and works in Berlin.
His works have been published in Art Magazin, Cicero, Rolling Stone, Der Spiegel, Monopol, SZ-Magazin, Stern, Time Magazine, Vanity Fair, Vogue, Die Zeit und Weltkunst, Zoo Magazine GB/D and many more. The the whole list here.
To this day, he has photographed about 600 public figures such as Ai WeiWei , Papst Benedikt XVI, Balthus , Georg Baselitz, Daniel Barenboim, Benazir Bhutto, Louise Bourgeois, Cate Blanchett, Christoph Daum, Tacita Dean, Umberto Eco, Isa Genzken, Douglas Gordon, Olafur Eliasson, Mia Farrow, Joachim Gauck, Martina Gedeck, Tom Hanks, Jenny Holzer, Dustin Hoffman, Udo Jürgens, Alex Katz, Jeff Koons, Alexandra Maria Lara, Jerry Lewis, George Lucas, Marilyn Manson, Angela Merkel, Günter Netzer, Yoko Ono, Anthony Hopkins, Max Raabe, Wolfgang Schäuble, Sir Ridley Scott, Richard Serra, Johannes Mario Simmel, Luc Tuymans, Sir Peter Ustinov, Bill Viola and Johanna Wokalek. See the whole list here.
“The thing that's important to know is that you never know. You're always sort of feeling your way.”
This quote has accompanied and comforted me since I picked up a camera for the first time, as I’ve always been kind of feeling my way through photography.
I’ve worked on many projects and taken, edited, and re-shot thousands of images. I moved one step forward, only to take two steps back the next day. I'd always envisioned that I should know how things work by now, but the reality is that I've probably found more new questions than answers over the years.
How do I know if a project is finished? When should I start a new one? How do I find the courage to leave a familiar path and risk something new?
There is no formula, no strategy, and no guarantees. The best you can do is stay curious, keep your eyes and mind open, follow your intuition, and hope for the best. Every photo, every project is a journey into a world unknown. That’s why it is so scary, and that’s why it is so exciting.
(Interview by Dale Rothenberg)
If my art were a coin, one side would be how I see and create the individual image. While shooting I allow my inner self to run free, letting go and giving way to intuition, emotion, and past experiences. The flip side is how I choose to use the photographs I create. I place them into the context of books, installations, and the internet so my ideas and feelings may come to life. These two sides inform and rely on each other and I have used this approach to investigate the world and myself. The results have led to two major projects-- an ongoing body of work titled, Stranger Than Family and There's just no telling.
The process of creating Stranger Than Family allowed me to confront and unveil my own existence. Growing up as an American, adopted from South Korea in a multiracial family of seven, we always saw ourselves as "normal." It was always evident in the gaze of others when we stepped outside the bubble of our home that we were viewed as different. We knew they only saw our exterior, the differences of our skin, our hair or our abilities. If only they could pull back the curtain and see past the facade, they would discover a family that was similar to their own. In 2011, I created a book titled An Unfinished Body, as a way to show the world how we came to be a family and to reveal our similarities through our everyday lives. Comprised of my family's snapshots, ephemera and my own photographs, the book acts as a window into our world.
An Unfinished Body gave way to my first success within the medium although once completed I found myself vulnerable. My photographs in book form became a story which people understood. This scared me because I saw where photography’s ability fell short to expose all the complexities of who we are. A large part of my family's life revolves around the special needs of my brothers and sister which I found to difficult to illustrate through documentary photography. The greatest challenge is articulating our complexities to the level of our own understanding and experience.
After the book came out I didn't want to make photographs of my family and I felt they needed a break after a year and a half of having a camera in their face. During this time I graduated from college and started a position as studio manager for a photography gallery in Chicago. It became difficult to find time to make photographs with purpose. In a reaction to my new reality I found refuge in making photographs when I could using my everyday life as subject matter and sharing them through tumblr and instagram under the guise of there's just no telling. Although many of my photographs remain private, I view them all as little experiments in communication and expression.
Shooting when I could led away from using a technical and heavy medium format camera to a compact and simple 35mm point and shoot. Allowing myself the freedom to photograph whatever and wherever my intuition guided me, opened my eyes to seeing beyond the subject. I finally found the energy and tension I was searching for when I created Unitled Acid, a photograph of a post-concert moment of my friend's drug-induced hardcore dancing.
After a couple of years and hundreds of rolls of film I developed a vast archive of work and came to understand my own voice within my medium. In late 2013 I brought together the photographs which held the energy found in Untitled, Acid, placing them into a handmade clamshell box I brought to life the work of there's just no telling. The individual photographs each hold their own story, but are purposely ambiguous and enigmatic in nature so viewers may bring their own perspective. This work does not hold any direct meaning beyond what the viewers experience and imagine, they are free to make their own connections between the notes. The success of the work lives in how certain individuals have the ability to transcend their experience past the facade. For those who can see, there's just no telling is a literal expression of my soul through the photograph, a collection of my energy.
For me There's just no telling was one large experiment to help me find a new way of seeing and communicating ideas which I can apply to Stranger Than Family. This is where I stand at this current moment and I look forward to sharing with you the works that will come in the future.
"Matthew Avignone is a Korean born American photographer and curator who communicates his feelings and ideas through documents and art."
Discover more Matthew's work over at matthewavignone.com
(Interview by Alex Crétey Systermans)