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Alexandra Noble

(b Brooklyn, New York, 1939).

American photographer . His first recorded photographs were of freaks on Coney Island made during the 1950s, giving an early indication of his ambition to challenge the boundaries of acceptable taste. His subject-matter included death, blasphemy, sado-masochism, homoeroticism and physical deformities. He presented an extreme, Gothic, nightmare world, which could be said to border on the pornographic. Balancing this taste for the grotesque was a tendency to mysticism and an aestheticism expressed in ironic reworkings of art-historical and literary themes drawn from Rembrandt, Goya, Rubens and the late 19th-century Symbolists.

Witkin studied sculpture at the Cooper Union School, New York, and in 1974 completed an MA in photography at the University of New Mexico. From the early 1970s he worked in series: Contemporary Images of Christ, Images of Women and the Rooftop series are a bizarre testament to his perverse preoccupations. The juxtaposition of Christ with comic-strip heroes, bound and gagged women surrounded by phallic fetishes and the use of masks on subjects of both sexes, withdrawing all individual identity, were central motifs of his work in the 1970s and 1980s. Witkin’s printing technique was complex and meticulous. He frequently scratched his negatives and placed thin tissue on his photographic paper to increase light refraction and soften the image, punching holes in it to emphasize chosen areas of sharpness. On warm toned papers and using a variety of toners, his prints often have a yellowish-brown Old Master look, thereby lessening the shock of such explicit imagery....


Chr. Will


(b Amsterdam, Aug 13, 1860; d Amsterdam, April 13, 1923).

Dutch painter, printmaker, photographer and critic. He came from an old Amsterdam family of wealthy aristocrats with strong cultural ties. From 1876 to 1884 he was a pupil of August Allebé at the Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten in Amsterdam. J. W. Kaiser (1813–1900) and Rudolf Stang (1831–1927) instructed him in graphic arts. In 1880 he co-founded St Luke’s Society of Artists with Jacobus van Looy and Antoon Derkinderen. In 1882 he visited Paris with van Looy. Between 1883 and 1888 he worked regularly at his family estate, Ewijkshoeve, south of Baarn, often staying there in the company of artistic friends—writers and musicians, as well as painters. With Jan Veth he founded the Nederlandsche Etsclub (Dutch Etching Club), which from 1885 made a strong contribution to the revival of etching in the Netherlands. Witsen was the first among his circle of friends to have his own etching press and also a camera....


Klaus Ottmann

(b Red Bank, NJ, Sept 14, 1954; d New York City, July 22, 1992).

American painter, photographer, writer, film maker, performance artist, and gay rights activist. After an abusive and violent childhood, Wojnarowicz spent his teenage years as a male prostitute in the streets of New York City. He eventually attended the High School of Music and Art in Manhattan and first became noticed as a graffiti artist by stencilling images of burning houses onto buildings in New York, for screening Super-8 films of abandoned buildings, and as a member of a punk band called 3 Teens Kill 4.

In the late 1980s, Wojnarowicz began to create his signature collages—provocative historical allegories to present social and political issues—by combining text, paint, collaged elements, and photography, such as Untitled (Buffalo) (1988–9), an ominous photographic collage picturing a herd of buffaloes being driven over a cliff, which was used in 1992 by the Irish rock band U2 as a cover image for their CD single ...


Reinhold Misselbeck

(b Berlin, Aug 1, 1930; d Hamburg, Nov 10, 1988).

German photographer . He studied art history and literature in Paris, Hamburg and the USA. Influenced by his encounter with American photography, he studied at the Bayerische Staatslehranstalt für Lichtbildwesen (until 1956). He then became an independent photographer in Hamburg, teaching at the Staatliche Meisterschule für Mode Photographie and setting up a studio-house in ...



Philip Cooper

[ Schulze, Alfred Otto Wolfgang ]

(b Berlin, May 27, 1913; d Champigny-sur-Marne, nr Paris, Sept 1, 1951).

German painter, draughtsman, photographer and illustrator . In 1919, when his father was appointed head of the Saxon State Chancellery, the family moved from Berlin to Dresden. The following year Wols started taking violin lessons, showing a precocious musical talent. Having finished his studies at a grammar school in Dresden in 1931 he was too young to take the Abitur examination and so decided to abandon it. Fritz Busch, the conductor of the Dresden Opera, then offered to get him a post as a first violinist with an orchestra. Instead he worked for a few months in the studio of the photographer Gena Jonas in Dresden while also spending time as a garage mechanic.

In 1932 Wols travelled to Frankfurt am Main to study anthropology under the German ethnologist Leo Frobenius, a friend of the family, at the Afrika-Institut, though without his Abitur the plan was short-lived. He then moved to Berlin and entered the ...


Tirza Latimer and Harriet Riches

Since the medium’s inception, women have been attracted to photography’s ability to narrate the past and to construct the future, as well as its relative freedom from the historical conventions of the fine arts. In Europe and North America, and later in parts of Central and South America and Asia, the evolution of the new technology across the 19th century coincided with feminist challenges to prevailing gender relations. From the 1850s women of the upper and middle classes experimented with photography as a tool of documentation and a space of self-expression, while photographic studios employed working-class women to assist in a variety of tasks. As innovations such as the dry-plate process (1870s) and the Kodak camera (...


Helaine Posner

(b Denver, CO, April 2, 1958; d New York, Jan 19, 1981).

American photographer . From the age of 11, Woodman spent summers at her parent’s farmhouse in Tuscany and later studied art in Rome through the European honours programme at the Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, from which she graduated. Her highly personal and intimate photographs have attracted a strong following, particularly among younger women artists, critics and curators. From 1972 to 1981 she created nearly 500 elegant black-and-white photographs in which an astonishingly prescient and mature aesthetic viewpoint emerges, one that centres on her self-portrait as a means of elaborating the ongoing fetishishization of the female body in Western culture. Filled with irony and grace, Woodman’s photographs of her youthful body, either nude or adorned with feminine accessories such as jewellery, garter-belts and high-heeled shoes, reveal an intense preoccupation with cultural construction of femininity, especially as it has been shaped by the erotic fantasies of men. Unlike the critical representations of Cindy Sherman, which expose the objectification of the female body, Woodman readily presents herself as an elusive, fragile being, entrapped by male expectation and by the realization that sexual identity is both socially and psychologically inscribed. Her photographs, however, are not simply performances staged for a male viewer, their consistent emotional intensity suggests something even more compelling. Woodman’s compulsion to scrutinize her nude form also expresses her remarkably courageous yet vulnerable quest for self-knowledge....


International movement that documented social and political conditions from the viewpoint of the working class and flourished from around 1926 to 1939. Worker photography first appeared in the Soviet Union and Germany in the mid-1920s, with the organization of amateur photography groups and the publication of specialized magazines that encouraged workers to take up the camera for the documentation of their socio-economic reality. Its appearance was linked to the rise of the modern illustrated press, which flourished after World War I, and the creation of popular proletarian newspapers and magazines in opposition to the mainstream bourgeois press. Organized worker photography functioned as an avant-garde movement, in both the artistic and political senses of this term; it had a distinct group identity and was guided by proletarian ideology in employing new media and techniques not merely to communicate messages but to achieve the revolutionary transformation of the world. As a working class movement, it advocated collective practices and published photographs that were often anonymous. As an international political movement, its activities were promoted by the Moscow-based Communist International (Comintern). With the rise of Stalinism and the Third Reich, organized Soviet and German worker photography came to an end in the early 1930s, at the same time that its activities began to appear in other European countries and the United States. The international movement collapsed by the start of World War II in ...


Patricia Masse

revised by Alana Hernandez

(b Chicago, Sept 6, 1925; d Mexico City, May 2, 2002).

Mexican photographer, printmaker, and writer of American birth. After studying humanities in Chicago, in 1944 she emigrated to Mexico. From 1945 to 1958 she worked as an engraver in the Taller de Gráfica Popular with Leopoldo Méndez. She was a founder-member in 1951 of the Salón de la Plástica Mexicana. As a photographer Yampolsky studied under Lola Álvarez Bravo at the Academia de San Carlos Mexico City. Álvarez Bravo’s influence can be seen in Yampolsky’s photographs of rural Mexico, in particular vernacular architecture and harmonious depictions of sites used for either daily or ceremonial functions. She also photographed Indian or mestizo peasants engaged in domestic activities and celebrations, and she published educational and art books.

La casa que canta: Arquitectura popular mexicana. Mexico City, 1982.Estancias del olvido. Mexico City, 1987.La raíz y el camino. Mexico City, 1988.Mazahua. Toluca, 1993.Haciendo Poblanas, text by R. Rendón Garcini...


Reiko Tomii

(b Kobe, Jan 3, 1967).

Japanese photographer and video artist ( see fig. ). She received degrees in crafts (1989) and art (1991) at Kyoto City University of Arts. During her studies, she created installations with accumulative fibre elements. When she photographed them for documentation, she came to recognize the power of photography. In 1993 she presented a performance work The White Casket , at Art Space Niji, Kyoto. Making a complete departure from her fibre works, she began a Photoshop-manipulated photographic series, Elevator Girls, in 1994. The project lasted for the next seven years, and depicted a group of primly uniformed elevator girls, all looking alike and mysteriously assembled in an elevator and other commercial, urban architectural settings. Frozen in passive or inactive postures, they represent the depersonalized, claustrophobic existence of Japanese women (and women in general), who live in an artificial consumer culture and a patriarchal Japanese society.

In 2000...


Catherine M. Grant

(b London, May 12, 1963).

English photographer. She studied in London at the Slade School of Fine Art (1982–6) and at Goldsmiths’ College (1988–90), graduating with an MFA. In her early photographs she turned the camera on the institutions that support the visual arts, making portraits of the people who commissioned or curated her work in the period from 1984 to 1995. One such work, Portrait: Selection Committee for the Arts Council of England (1995; London, AC England Col.), was acquired by the very people represented in it. Her colour images are given a strong presence as a result of being mounted on light boxes; the use of solarization around the figures’ heads, like auras, further enhances their luminosity. In a project for Springfield Hospital, London, Yass took portraits of the clients and carers as well as shots of the empty interiors, all of which were displayed in the hospital in ...


Leyla Dunia

Venezuelan artistic partnership lasting from 1977 to 1986. Jennifer [Yeni] Hackshaw (b Caracas, 1948) and María Luisa [Nan] González (b Caracas, 1956)—along with artist Antonieta Sosa—were the first women who presented their bodies as the support of their artistic and aesthetic proposals in Venezuela, becoming the most important pioneers of the performative movement of the 1980s in the country. Their artistic work laid the foundations for a conceptual and performative language that incorporated a deep interest for the exploration of the body throughout yoga, meditation, and Tai Chi.

They first met at the Escuela de Artes Visuales Cristóbal Rojas in Caracas in the 1970s. In 1977 they moved to England and studied art at the Central School of Art and the Chelsea School of Art, both in London. Later, they moved to France and studied photography in Cannes, and in 1979 they returned to Caracas and studied film at the Experimental Cinema Workshop with Alfredo Anzola. They are best known for their performative pieces, but they have also worked in writing, drawing, photography, Polaroids, video, and multimedia installation as modes of expression. During the first years of their collaboration they produced emblematic pieces as ...


A. N. Lavrentiev

( Petrovich )

(b Kazanskaya-na-Donu, 1881; d Moscow, 1948).

Russian photographer. He studied at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture from 1901, then worked as a painter, turning to photography in the second decade of the 20th century. He experimented with complex laboratory processes but in his mature period concentrated on conventional printing. His experience as a painter was reflected in his photography, for example Ayvazovsky’s Cliff on the Black Sea (1920), with its enigmatic light and soft transitions. In the 1920s and 1930s Yeryomin worked on several major photographic cycles including Crimea and Central Asia, and his series Old Moscow and Palaces and Estates in the Moscow Area recorded numerous architectural monuments. He exhibited in the USSR and abroad, winning awards for his work. He also illustrated books on the art of photography. In the mid-1930s he tried his hand at photojournalism, but landscape and architecture, photographed with a soft-focus lens, remained his favourite subjects....


Blair French

(b Sydney, May 14, 1957).

Australian photographer. Zahalka was awarded an MFA in 1994 and was recipient of the 2005 Leopold Godowsky, Jr. Color Photography Award at the Photographic Resource Center in Boston, MA. Since the 1980s her work has explored various forms of photographic portraiture, photomontage as well as manifesting a constant interest in the representation of place and its importance in the formation of individual and cultural identity. Zahalka has frequently referred to well-known historical photographs and representations in order to both draw on and question the cultural, gendered or institutional basis of their authority. Her work conveys an acute self-awareness of its own historical precedents. However it equally draws upon photography’s traditional association with visual veracity, exemplifying the complexity of photography as both aesthetic construction and medium of record.

The daughter of Czech and Austrian refugees, Zahalka’s early series, such as The Tourist as Theorist: (Theory Takes a Holiday) (1985), ...


Molly Rogers


(b Beaufort County, SC, Oct 8, 1814; d Social Circle, GA, Dec 13, 1892).

American daguerreotypist. He specialized in studio portraits but is now known for his images of enslaved men and women intended to support an early theory of race formation. He became an itinerant daguerreotypist in the early 1840s and in 1846, at the request of local citizens, opened a photographic portrait studio in Columbia, SC, the first establishment of its kind in that city. The success of his business as a portrait photographer is apparent from period advertisements, in which he touts the latest techniques and materials, and from the regular appearance of his name in the editorials of photographic trade journals. His customers considered him to be ‘the best artist in the up country’ (Louis Foster Perrin to his sister, 16 Oct 1856, James Rion McKissick Collection, South Caroliniana Library, University of South Carolina). Success enabled him to become a respectable member of his community, joining the Freemasons and owning slaves....


A. N. Lavrentiev

( Anatol’yevich )

(b Tashkent, 1906; d Moscow, 1984).

Russian photographer of Uzbek birth. He moved to Moscow in 1921. After training as a photographer, he worked in the Proletkino film studio and then as an apprentice photographer at the Russfoto agency (1923–4). His early photographs include pictures of old Moscow and a toy factory at Zagorsk. Russfoto sent Zel’ma to Tashkent as a correspondent. His photographs of life in the Central Asian republics began to appear in the national press and were included in 10 let Uzbekistana (‘10 years of Uzbekistan’, 1934), an album of photographs designed by Aleksandr Rodchenko and Varvara Stepanova. Zel’ma was one of the leading photojournalists in the USSR. In the 1930s he worked for the newspapers Izvestiya and Krasnaya Zvezda. Together with Maks Al’pert he photographed a number of subjects for the magazine USSR in Construction, including pictures of collective farms and aerial views of the USSR as well as a series on the building of the Beryoznikovsk and Solikamsk chemical complexes. He also produced expressive photographs on the theme of aviation (e.g. ...


James Crump

( Semyonovich )

(b Simbirsk, 1870; d Leningrad [St Petersburg], 1942).

Russian photographer . He is known for the portraits of literary, artistic and political leaders that he produced during the first two decades of the 20th century, including Anton Chekhov, Lev Tolstoy, Tchaikovsky and perhaps the most acclaimed portrait ever executed of Lenin. After an apprenticeship with the photographer Konstantin Shapiro, Zhukov opened his own studio in St Petersburg, with the support of the St Petersburg Academy of Arts. After the 1917 October Revolution, he became the chief military photographer for the Petrograd (St Petersburg) military zone, and he documented the civil war in that region and the activities of the Red Army. Sent to Moscow in 1920, he continued portraying Soviet political leaders and the upper ranks of the Red Army. In the 1930s his interests turned to photojournalism, and he returned to Leningrad.

S. Morozov and others, eds: Soviet Photography, 1917–1940 (London, 1984) G. Chudakov: 20 sowjetische Photographen, 1917–1940...


(b Radeburg, nr Dresden, Jan 10, 1858; d Berlin, Aug 9, 1929).

German draughtsman, printmaker, photographer and film maker. He attended evening classes at the Hochschule für Bildende Künste, Berlin, while serving a lithography apprenticeship (1872–5). He subsequently worked for an art printing company, where he learned the techniques of etching and aquatint. His first drawings were exhibited at the Berlin Secession in 1901, where he exhibited regularly thereafter. His work also appeared in Jugend: Illustrierte Wochenschrift für Kunst und Leben and Lustige Blätter. Zille’s sympathetic depictions of impoverished workers, children and prostitutes in Berlin are in a humourous vein but with serious undertones, and carry captions in Berlin slang; his photographs of Berlin street scenes also provide rare documents of everyday life. In 1926 he made the film Die da Unten

Zille, Heinrich Kinder der Strasse (Berlin, 1908) L. Fischer: Heinrich Zille in Selbstzeugnissen und Bilddokumenten (Reinbek bei Hamburg, 1979) W. G. Oschilewski: Heinrich Zille Bibliographie (Hannover, 1979)...


Term used in the 19th century for a planographic print taken from a plate made of zinc, a technique first described in his 1801 patent application by J(ohann) N(epomuk) F(ranz) Alois Senefelder ; zinc was common in commercial usage by c. 1840. Such prints were more often subsumed under the generic name lithograph. ...


(b May 28, 1952).

British performance artist, sculptor, photographer and writer. She studied Russian and Arabic at Leeds University (1970–72), and completed her foundation studies at Croydon College of Art (1972–3). She then studied fine art at Goldsmith’s College, London (1973–6), where the progressive approach to contemporary art led her to design her own course of study, which focused on all aspects of performance art. Influences upon her work include Yves Klein and Bruce McLean. Her ability to deflate the pretentious and absurd in daily life was demonstrated in unrehearsed, highly skilled displays of intuitive stagecraft. These are extended monologues that engage the audience with a mesmerising mixture of mimicry, metaphors, verbal and visual clichés and that explore the conventions of suburban existence and the domestic role of women (e.g. Rubbergloverama-Drama; 1980, London, ICA). Although known primarily as a performance artist, she also made sculptural works and ‘costume constructions’ initially created in connection with a performance, but which later existed as autonomous objects. Ziranek also took photographs, wrote (e.g. ...