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We spent a day at Camera Work in Berlin with French Photographer Bettina Rheims to explore her latest exhibition. Her series "Gender Studies" is all about transgender.
The Web helped her recruiting people from across the globe who share this lifestyle. Not only the pictures, but the very models spoke for themselves, as the show featured voice recordings to accompany the images.
The encounter with the "third sex" ist just as peculiar as Rheims' earlier works "Chambre Close" and "I.N.R.I.", the latter of which is a contemporary portrayal of the bible.
We thank Camera Work for accessing their gallery and realising the interview.
Photographer Martin Usborne lives in East London where he has his photographic studio. He is interested in the ever-curious relationship between humans and other animals. In this film he sits down with FotoTV to give more insight of himself and his work.
Usborne portrays a more quotidian facet of the world of canines with his series, “The Silence of Dogs in Cars.” And while dog photos are familiar, Usborne—who has a book published by Kehrer has successfully breached the genre of cute-dog photos. In carefully crafting each image, Usborne began with a sketch of the imagined photo before finding the dogs. He recruited subjects by approaching dog owners while walking his own dogs. He would then find the cars and locations. After the dog was found, he tried to match the dog to the car.
It might be easy to dismiss photographs of pets as merely cute—the Internet demonstrates that people are obsessed with them, and studies show they may be good for our health—but Usborne hopes his audience will see something more in his work. “When he finally took the first picture, he began to understand where it all came from: fears of being alone, unheard, fears of being like an animal with no way to express itself.
Born in Perth Western Australia photographer Russell James is currently one of the world's leading fashion photographers. Over the past decade his images have become synonymous with provocative, unique perspectives of many of the most prominent women of our time in the worlds of entertainment, fashion and beauty.
James talks with FotoTV about his nontraditional pathway to becoming a photographer. He explains of his early beginnings working as a metal worker creating metal trash bins then his stint for the Australian police force. Working for the police force helped him how to work and relate to people in all kinds of environments. James shares some of beautiful work with us including nudes of Adriana Lima and underwater images.
His work has appeared in a wide range of leading international publications such as Vogue, W, American Photo and Sports Illustrated. His works are often featured in art books including, "The World's Top Photographers: Portraits", Heidi Klum's 'Beauty' and "Sardinia", James has also been awarded prestigious titles such as the Hasselblad Masters Award.
In this FotoTV interview we talk to Brian Griffin, post-punk photographer about his beginnings in photography and he shares in-depth coverage of his work and the high-profile clients he has worked for.
Griffin started out as an engineer but soon got bored and enrolled in art school to become a photographer. He so soon met Swiss national, Roland Schenk, who had worked together with Robert Frank of the famed Du Magazine. Griffin would go on to shoot hundreds of album covers for some of rock and roll's greatest musicians.
He feels that during the time when he started photography in England in 1969, photography was not a well desired position to have and he felt he could had disappointed his parents having chosen to go into photography and leaving the secure job in an office as an engineer.
Griffin did the right thing choosing to go into professional photography having had a very successful career creating images of substance and emotion. Photography afforded him to find out things he did not know about himself. His work speaks volumes, imbedded with themes such as politics, business and his own personal issues and thoughts into his work.
Vee Speers is an Australian photographer living in Paris. She studied fine art and photography in Brisbane which was followed by a five year career in Sydney with the ABC television as a stills photographer. A short stay in France in 1990 became a permanent move to Paris, which for Speers is a place with ‘unlimited potential and endless creative inspiration. During this FotoTV interview she tells intimate stories of the methodology behind her work.
Speers first work was on a series of nudes which she photographed in Paris at former Bordellos. She photographed women as part of an extension of her learning at school during art class. It was a way for her to interpret her meaning of the human form and how light and color effect her work.
Another project that Speers worked on was a theme of birthday parties. She first shot this series on her daughter's 8th birthday where the children showed up dressed in costume as animals and other characters.
In this FotoTV interview, famed photographer David Alan Harvey talks about his early beginnings in photography. He is known for his charismatic images, often exploring subjects such as poverty, urban life, and cross culture.
Early on as a child during a hospital stay he spent much of his time reading, Life Magazine in particular. Even though he was only eight years old he had gotten his first camera, but it wasn't until he was 12 years old on a camping trip did he realize that he wanted to take photos himself.
At age 21 he had a job working on the beach and he was enjoying his time surfing and partying. It was at this time he decided to venture out away from the beach to where he was drawn into the culture of black people who lived across the tracks from the beach, which was actually the beginning of his working on his first documentary "Tell it like it is".
Harvey goes on to share stories of his close work with cultures such as criminals, wealthy individuals, drug dealers and police officer. His book project, "Based on a True story was a subtitle of "One night in Rio" Where he successfully penetrated every social group living there at the time.
Martin Graham Dunn was our guest today in the PhotokinaTV Studio. He was here to announce and
present a new International Photo Contest: the HIPA.
The competition is sponsored by Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, the Crown Prince of Dubai. The theme of this years cometition is "Beauty of Light". Although the roots of the competition are in Dubai ,the sponsors hope this expands beyond the borders.
The goal is to use the wide appeal of photography to bring the world, the people and nations closer together. Here we offer some of last years winning pictures as a closing sequence of images.
In this FotoTV film, curator Michael Harder shares work from June Newton alias Alice Springs at the Helmut Newton exhibit.
A lot of people know that June Newton shot under a pseudonym. But then again there are a lot of people who did not know that June Newton, wife of legendary photographer Helmut Newton, had a successful career shooting under the name Alice Springs. While visiting today, curator Harder takes us through different eras of Alice Spring and her work. There is definitely a resemblance of work style between her work and Helmut Newton’s work, because he taught he how to use a camera. But it was probably on all the photo shoots she shot documentaries of which gave her an insight to Helmut Newton’s world of photography.
Under normal circumstances there is always a “June’s” room. The curator changes out photos periodically depending on theme or content. This interview is good for photographers who want to learn more about the working relationship between Helmut and June Newton and for photographers who are interested in getting to know Alice Springs.
In this FotoTV interview, photographer Martin Vrabko sits down to share poignant stories and to discuss the methods behind his working with people for portraits.
Ninety percent of Vrabko’s work is shooting people. He likes to change up shooting in studio and on location. He rarely shoots in the same studio for more than a few years because he feels that the studio becomes monotonous and predictable. Vrabko focuses on the human side of photography as opposed to the commercial way a lot of photographers shoot people - “like one, two, smile”. There is a visible psychological side to his photography, which Vrabko likes to associate with the feeling and flow of water. He also uses music during his shootings to change the moods of his subjects.
Vrabko uses large format cameras because often there are effects that he cannot recreate in post-production software. He can make things blurry in post-production but he cannot make things sharp. Concentrating on the human being in the photo is something Vrabko likes to pride himself on. It is a way for him to get close to the people he is shooting as well as make a connection to the viewer.
It’s not often that a photogapher is himself so photogenic and so charismatic as Stephan Vanfleteren. This is the first of two interviews with him and it’s really worth watching both.
Vanfleteren’s work is readily identifiable as his own: Classical and documentary portraits, some landscapes, all in rich black and white tones, often with a thick black line inside a white border and mounted in a black frame. Stunning, compelling images.
The interview takes place in his exhibition ‘BELGICUM’ and he begins by talking about how this project came to be. It is an overview of 15 years of his photography in Belgium. A personal, nostalgic, melancholic view. “Just the way I see it“.
Not may photographers do projects on their own country so he’s quite happy about that. As a press photographer he’s seen a lot ot the world but, as he says, “You forget about your own country. And especially while Belgium is so small. It’s like being a boxer – this is your ring, your territory where it all has to happen. And Belgium’s a strange country.”
Some of the photographs were ‘stolen’ from the street. But in the main they are taken in the intimacy of poor people’s homes. Sometimes, Vanfleteren says, he was the first visitor they had had in weeks or months. It is charachteristic of him that he “kind of became friends with them and visited them again” when he was in the neighbourhood. “I feel comfortable with these people, more than sitting with a banker.” Everyone in this exhibition portrayed with dignity and respect.
Vanfleteren then goes on to talk more generally about his approach to photography and his decision to stick with black and white. It was a concious decision made some six months after art school and beginning his professional career. He chose the ‘little thing’, the ‘narrow track’ because he just felt good about it. Resisting pressure from the newspapers to deliver colour images cost him some interesting assignments. But the quality of his black and white work meant that he was still always in demand and he kept getting work. Now he has a body of work which bears his style while others adapt, as he says, from month to month to new fashions.
When making portraits Vanfleteren is rather quiet and contemplative. There is no shouting or loud music or rapid changes of pose. He moves slowly round his subject “as in a dance”, occasionally giving instructions on where to look. Even after all these years taking portraits is something very special to him. “It’s an energy that is very strange. Even if you see the people years later there’s a connection. Because some people really let you into their life, their heart or their mind – so it’s something very intense. That’s why I like portrait photography.”
The beautiful thing about photography, Vanfleteren says, is that you can “really go wherever your head is”. If you feel sad and melacholic you can express that: If you feel outgoing, go out, meet people and express that too.
Stephan Vanfleteren sums up his refreshing approach this way: “I don’t want to be a photographer that proves that he can photograph everything. I want to be a happy man. And how you become happy is to photograph the things that you are interested in. ‘Artist’, ‘documentary journalist’ - The words I don’t think about. I just want to make photographs that I like and that other people can understand and feel too.”
Learn more about this outstanding photographer in Part 2.