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Article

Susanna Temkin

(b Barquisimeto, 1969).

Venezuelan photographer, filmmaker, and installation artist. He studied photography with Ricardo Armas (b 1952) from 1987 to 1988, and art history at the Universidad Central de Venezuela Caracas from 1987 to 1990. His art reveals the contradictions and fallacies of modernism, often explored through themes related to architecture and urban planning, as well as gender and identity. Much of Apostól’s work focused on his native Venezuela, and more particularly, on the city of Caracas and its citizens. However, the artist also produced works related to the cities of Bogotá, Los Angeles, and Madrid, where he was long based. Significantly, although his art conveys local particularities, it also bears wider implications about the legacy of modernism across the globe.

Much of Apóstol’s photographic practice involved the use of digital technology. By erasing, altering, or enhancing a photograph, he exposed the failures of modernism as embedded within Venezuelan architecture. Turning to the vernacular buildings of Caracas, his series ...

Article

Gustavo Navarro-Castro

(b Caracas, 1952).

Venezuelan photographer. He was self-taught and dedicated himself to photography from 1972, first working for the magazine Escena (1974–6) and then for the Galería de Arte Nacional in Caracas (1976–8). His first exhibition, Acercamiento a Zitman, was held at the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo Sofía Imber, Caracas, in ...

Article

Julieta Ortiz Gaitán

(b Mexico City, April 25, 1944).

Mexican photographer. She studied art at the Universidad Motolinía and at the Universidad Anáhuac, both in Mexico City, and undertook specialist studies at the Club Fotográfico de México. Ascher’s work showed the influence of such photographers as Yousuf Karsh, Sam Haskins (b 1926) and Richard Avedon, but it was also more generally stimulated by the work of Eugène Atget, Alfred Stieglitz, Paul Strand, Manuel Alvarez Bravo and Henri Cartier-Bresson. She made frequent trips to New York, where she acquired experience from photographers and artists that not only enriched her own visual concepts but also the technical aspects of her work. Ascher consolidated her position in Mexican photography through her work, particularly in the acute sensitivity of her many portraits of personalities from the artistic and cultural world. Her series of José Luis Cuevas and Juan Rulfo are among her most outstanding works. After several years of work she collected the material that was published as ...

Article

Camara Dia Holloway

[Smikle, David Edward]

(b Queens, NY, Nov 25, 1953).

African American photographer. Bey was born and raised in the neighborhood of Jamaica, in Queens, New York City. His interest in photography was cemented by viewing the now infamous exhibition, Harlem on My Mind, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1969. He studied at the School of Visual Arts during 1976–8, later earning his BFA from Empire State College, State University of New York in 1990, followed by his MFA from Yale University School of Art in 1993.

Bey launched his career in 1975 with the Harlem, USA series, following in the footsteps of street photographers who found the predominantly African American community a compelling subject. This series of black-and-white portraits became the subject of Bey’s first solo exhibition at the Studio Museum in Harlem in 1979.

During the 1980s, Bey continued making portraits expanding his terrain beyond Harlem. Sensitive to the politics of representing African Americans, he developed strategies to equalize the photographic encounter. Bey began using a large-format view camera on a tripod that he set up in the street. He established a dialogue with his sitters and gifted them with a print of their portrait. This was facilitated by his discovery of 4×5 Polaroid positive/negative Type 55 film that yielded virtually instant prints....

Article

Manuel Cirauqui

(b Mexico City, 1981).

Mexican conceptual artist. Unlike many of his contemporaries, Bonillas started his career before, and instead of, undertaking an official fine arts education. Widely and internationally exhibited before he reached age 20, his work began with highly analytical studies of ordinary photographic procedures such as printing (in his foundational piece, Trabajos fotográficos, 1998) or pressing the shutter (Diez cámaras documentadas acústicamente, 1998).

Bonillas’s work investigates the materiality and semiotic depth of the photographic medium in a somewhat topographic manner: starting, and never ending, in a periphery that stands ambiguously as both the material margins of photography as well as its self-reflective dimension. However, the “peripheral” nature of Bonillas’s inquiry quickly reveals itself as a strategy to address core aspects of a medium whose substance lies, precisely, on its surface. As the artist exerts infinite variations on generic aspects of the photographic practice, alternately related to structure and meaning (primary colors, family photographs, erasures, captioning, fiction, archival habits, etc.), he delivers a paradox with each of his works. In them, background becomes foreground, face becomes pigment, anecdote becomes the main theme, stain becomes signature, and vice versa....

Article

Elva Peniche Montfort

(b Guadalajara, Mar 22, 1939; d Mexico City, Dec 3, 2003).

Mexican photographer. His work combines the production of documentary images with artistic experimentation. In Mexico he pioneered the expressive use of color photography, three-dimensional supports, non-traditional printing techniques, photomontages, and large formats, as well as the creation of “environments.” Unlike most of his colleagues, Bostelmann had formal training in photography. He received a scholarship to study at the Bayerische Staatslehranstalt für Photographie in Munich (1958–1960), where he first came into contact with such movements as subjective photography. Upon his return to Mexico in 1960 he began working as a professional, developing twin careers as an artist and as a commercial photographer in the fields of advertising and industrial and artwork photography, where he created images of great technical and aesthetic value.

In 1970 he published América: Un viaje a través de la injusticia (“America: A journey through injustice”), one of the first Latin American photobooks ever to be printed. The book is consistent with the rhetoric of social criticism that was dominant in photography at the time. It comprises a selection of images that he took during his travels through Mexico and Central and South America, unified by a strong and consistent aesthetic approach. Bostelmann was one of the first photographers to exhibit his work in museums traditionally oriented towards painting and sculpture (such as the Museo de Arte Moderno in Mexico City). He was also one of the first to send an exhibition abroad, as in the case of ...

Article

Cruz Barceló Cedeño

(b Río, Sucre, March 20, 1945).

Venezuelan photographer. He took courses in cinema at the Ateneo in Caracas, where his interest in photography began. After winning second prize in the National Salon of Photography, he went to Rome on a scholarship to study at the Centro de Adiestramiento Profesional ‘Don Orione’. His black-and-white photographic work is distinctive in its capturing of physical details and gestures of people in the street, such as their hands, feet and faces, obliging the spectator to complete the figure with his imagination; examples include ...

Article

Sérgio B. Martins

(b Rio de Janeiro, Jul 11, 1970).

Brazilian painter and photographer. Camargo was formally trained at the Escola de Belas-Artes (EBA) of the Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro in the late 1990s, and is best known for her pictorial meditations on urban and cinematic landscapes.

The EBA was an artistically conservative institution during Camargo’s tenure as a student, but she was nevertheless able to develop a visual language that differed from the school’s general preference for academic and early modernist styles. She was part of a group of students who concentrated on issues of urban experience and visual culture in Rio de Janeiro. Unlike most of her classmates, though, who engaged mostly with the multimedia language of urban intervention, Camargo remained a painter, with sporadic forays into photography and photocollage.

The mediated image plays a crucial role in her painting, as Camargo often reread fragments of urban imagery through the lens of cinematography. Filmmakers Andrei Tarkovsky and Werner Herzog are two of her most recurrent references. Camargo’s cinematic approach is most evident in her first solo show ...

Article

Isobel Whitelegg

(b La Vega, Mantanzas, 1959).

Cuban painter, photographer, installation and performance artist, active also in the USA. Campos-Pons studied at the Higher Institute of Art, Havana (1980–85). Initially a painter, her graduation show Acoplamientos (1985; Havana, HIA) was concerned with representations of the female body as a device for prohibition and control, and her early work focused on the role of women in society and their representation within the history of art. In 1988 she went to the USA as a visiting artist at the Massachusetts College of Art, Boston, and in 1991 she settled permanently in Boston. Using shaped canvases, her first works displayed an interest in the interrelationship between painting and three-dimensional media. While living in the USA she also expanded her interest in sculpture and installation to include elements of video and performance.

Living abroad also brought her relationship to Cuba into sharper relief; work produced in the early 1990s addressed her own displacement in relation to the enforced migration of her ancestors as slaves, and the way in which an imagined Africa is collectively created in contemporary Cuba by story-telling, the cultivation of traditional medicinal plants and the practice of the Afro-Caribbean Santería religion. Using performance and video as a form of self-portraiture, another aspect of her practice focuses on her attempt to build a coherent identity as an Afro-Cuban woman living in the USA. With the aim of achieving simultaneity between performance and its immediate capture in the production of an unalterable image, her self-portraits employ large-format colour Polaroid photography, as in the diptych ...

Article

Paraguayan, 20th – 21st century, male.

Born 1964, in Itauga Guazù.

Painter, draughtsman, engraver, film producer, video artist.

Enrique Collar entered the Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes Manuel Belgrano in Buenos Aires in 1988. Since 1997 he has produced audiovisual works including videos like El Presente...

Article

Brazilian, 20th – 21st century, female.

Born 1961, in Caxias do Sul.

Video artist, photographer.

Rochelle Costi lives and works in São Paulo and is known mainly for her photographs. She has participated in numerous collective exhibitions, including: Ultrabaroque: Aspects of Post-Latin American Art touring exhibition, Modern Art Museum, Fort Worth (...

Article

Mary M. Tinti

(b Colgate, Jamaica, Oct 16, 1960).

African American photographer of Jamaican birth. Although born in Jamaica, Cox was raised in an upper–middle-class neighborhood in Scarsdale, NY. Interested in both film and photography, Cox favored the latter for its immediacy and began her study of the craft while at Syracuse University. After a brief stint as a fashion photographer, Cox received her MFA from the New York School of Visual Arts in 1992 and participated in the Whitney Museum of American Art Independent Study Program from 1992–3.

Cox became a household name in 2001 when New York City mayor Rudolph Giuliani took great offense at Yo Mama’s Last Supper (1996), a controversial photographic reinterpretation of Leonardo’s Last Supper, unveiled at the Brooklyn Museum exhibition, Committed to the Image: Contemporary Black Photographers. (The photo featured a nude Cox, with arms outstretched, flanked by 11 black, dreadlocked apostles and a white Judas.) Outraged at the image’s supposedly irreverent, anti-Catholic overtones, Giuliani called for a special commission on decency to oversee organizations whose exhibitions benefited from public funds. The subsequent media frenzy earned Cox (who was raised Catholic) much publicity in the popular press, which in turn brought new critical attention to her works....

Article

Erika Billeter

(b Salvador, Bahia, 1947; d Salvador, Bahia, Aug 9, 2009).

Brazilian photographer and sculptor. In 1964 he trained as a photographer in Berlin, returning to Brazil in 1966. He worked with the photographer Hans Mann in Rio de Janeiro, and as Fulvio Roiter’s assistant on the latter’s journey to Bahia. In 1969 he visited New York, and in the 1970s worked as a sculptor and photographer in São Paolo. In 1980 Cravo Neto won the prize for the best photographer of 1980 from the society of Brazilian art critics. This was in recognition of his extraordinary work in portrait studies, which he produced in front of a dramatic black background, as in Tep, the Indian (1980; see 1988 exh. cat.).

Cravo Neto, Mario La Ciudad de Bahia (Brasília, 1980)Mario Cravo visto da Mario Cravo Neto (Brasília, 1983) Brasil, fotografie di Mario Cravo Neto (exh. cat., intro. J. Amado; Venice, Pal. Fortuny, 1988)Cartographies: 14 artistas latinamericanos...

Article

Katherine Chacón

(b Caracas, Aug 20, 1939; d Caracas, Apr 17, 2016).

Venezuelan photographer and architect. Dorronsoro worked successfully in the fields of photography and architecture from 1963. That year, after his graduation as an architect at the Universidad Central de Venezuela (UCV), he began to cultivate a passion for photography that developed a strong focus on portraits of the social landscape. His work portrays reality from a critical perspective that reveals the hidden edges of contemporary culture. Sometimes with a touch of irony or acid humor, his photographs provide data to understand the sociocultural context of the subjects and places that he represented and reveal the deep inequalities of the urban environment. Dorronsoro’s first solo exhibition, Gorka Dorronsoro: 21 fotografías de la serie Paraguaná–Venezuela, was held in 1974 at the Museo de Bellas Artes (MBA) in Caracas. The photographs included in this exhibit portrayed the social and economic realities of Paraguaná, a village immersed in poverty, where one of the most important oil refineries in the country is located. In ...

Article

Erika Billeter

(b Panama City, Sept 4, 1942).

Panamanian photographer. She studied art history at Finch College, New York (1961–4), and in the following three years painted in Spain. In 1972–3 she was Instructor of Photography at the Universidad de San José, Costa Rica, and from 1974 worked as a freelance photographer in Panama. Her photographs were not merely reportage, although they provide a documentary record of daily life in Panama, but also give a vivid picture of the character of the Panamanians. This is particularly marked in her photographic study of three peasant women from the Tonosi Valley, and in her series on the village and people of Portobelo....

Article

John Mraz

(b Mexico City, Aug 23, 1923; d Mexico City, June 2, 2012).

Mexican photographer. Born in one of Mexico City’s poorest barrios, he went to the USA as a bracero (manual labourer) during World War II. There began García’s interest in photography, and upon his return he studied with Manuel Alvarez Bravo and Gabriel Figueroa (1907–97) at the Instituto Cinematográfico Mexicano, Mexico City. In the 1950s García decided to dedicate himself to still photography, and he worked for periodicals that included Mañana, Siempre!, and Excélsior with a focus on Mexico City’s poor; he published the section ‘F 2.8’ in Excélsior from 1958 to 1960. One of his most devastating images was that of a ragged, barefooted young man squeezed into a foetal position in a wall niche, his home, to avoid the flooded streets. The French Minister of Culture, André Malraux, baptized the image ‘Boy sleeping in a concrete womb’, and described it as ‘One of our time’s cruellest testimonies’....

Article

Isobel Whitelegg

(b Mexico City, 21 March, 1957).

Mexican photographer, also active in Switzerland. She studied visual arts at the Escuela Nacional de Artes Plásticas, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (1975–8), where she was taught by Kati Horner, whose expressive photography Garduño cited as a formative influence. After graduation she worked in Horner’s studio (1978–9) before being appointed as darkroom assistant (1979–80) to one of the country’s most celebrated photographers, Manuel Alvarez Bravo. Printing portfolios using silver, platinum and palladium processes, this experience lent her particular expertise in the technical aspects of the medium.

In 1981 she travelled throughout Mexico with a team of photographers led by Marianna Yampolsky (1925–2002), another important figure in modern Mexican photography noted for her images of the country’s indigenous population and rural architecture. The two-year expedition was sponsored by the Instituto Nacional Indigenista and served to produce documentary images of everyday life in the country’s rural villages to be used in educational publications. In ...

Article

John-Paul Stonard

[González-Torres, Félix]

(b Guaimaro, Cuba, Nov 26, 1957; d New York, Jan 9, 1996).

American sculptor and photographer of Cuban birth. He moved in 1979 to New York, where he completed a BFA in photography at the Pratt Institute (1983) and an MFA at the International Center of Photography, New York University (1987), as well as enrolling in the Whitney Museum of American Art Independent Study Program. In 1987 he joined Group Material, a New York-based group of artists whose intention was to work collaboratively, adhering to principles of cultural activism and community education. His own engagement as a gay man with socio-political issues, as well as his exploration of the way in which politics can infiltrate personal life, forms the background to his work, centred around the interaction of public and private spheres. In 1989 he presented his first stacked-paper work, Untitled (Memorial Day Weekend) and Untitled (Veterans Day Sale), exhibited together as Untitled (Monuments) (L. and R. Plehn priv. col., see ...

Article

Victor Manuel Muñoz Vega

(b Mexico City, Jul 25, 1940).

Mexican photographer, video artist, and filmmaker. She belongs to the first generation of visual artists that used multimedia. Grobet studied Art at the Universidad Iberoamericana, Mexico City, at the Cardiff College of Art and the Derby College for Higher Education in the UK, and also at the Multimedia Center of the Centro Nacional de las Artes in Mexico City. She studied under distinguished artists such as Mathias Goeritz, Gilberto Aceves Navarro, Kati Horna, and wrestler El Santo, el enmascarado de plata (The Silver-masked One).

Grobet used photography as an instrument for her artistic practice. She stated that kinetic art led her to photography, which she believed was best suited for the communicative needs of her time. Subsequently, Grobet developed experimental projects integrated with sensitive documentary record and community intervention strategies. She worked with artistic organizations for the production and dissemination of contemporary art such as Grupo Proceso Pentágono (1978–1990...

Article

J. Harwood

(b Mexico City, May 16, 1942).

Mexican photographer and film maker. Iturbide trained at the Centro Universitario de Estudios Cinematográficos in Mexico City (1969–72), where she studied photography as well as film making. During this period she became assistant to one of her teachers, the celebrated Mexican photographer Manuel Álvarez Bravo. From Álvarez Bravo, Iturbide gained a very Mexican sense of the poetry in life, which she attempted to capture in her work. From the 1970s Iturbide worked as a freelance photographer for the Instituto Nacional Indigenista, the Secretaria de Comunicaciones, and numerous magazines in Mexico City. Projects included a photo-essay on the Seri Indian community (1981) with text by the anthropologist Luis Barjau, and another in the early 1990s on the community of Juchitán, in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec. The latter, with the support of the Mexican artist Francisco Toledo, aimed to recapture the community’s Zapotec culture and return it to the people. In an attempt to grasp the poetry that surrounded her, Iturbide focused on the human element, whether present or merely suggested. In ...