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Article

Sheryl Conkelton

(b Brooklyn, NY, March 16, 1942).

American photographer and film maker. He began photographing in 1962 and became the first staff photographer for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). From images of racial strife taken during this time Lyon produced books that reported on contemporary American culture and political life, one of which was The Movement (1964). In 1967 he published his first important photographic essay, The Bikeriders, a look at the Chicago Outlaws, a renegade motorcycle club. As an independent photographer he worked in Latin America, photographing prostitutes in Colombia and experimenting with colour for the first time.

In 1967 Lyon began to work for the photographic agency Magnum. He assisted Robert Frank in 1969 on the film Life Raft Earth, and then produced the films Social Science 127 and Llanito. These projects were followed by Conversations with the Dead in 1971, a book that is his best-known work and that shows life in Texan prisons through Lyon’s strong images and texts written by the inmates. Lyon was a practitioner of ‘participatory journalism’, as it was called by author George Plimpton, photographing and filming with no pretense to objectivity throughout the 1970s. In ...

Article

Jessica S. McDonald

(b Queens, New York, Jan 10, 1930).

American photographer, curator, and educator. A major figure in American photography, he influenced the field through exhibitions, writings, workshops, and lectures delivered over more than 50 years. Born in the neighbourhood of Jamaica, in Queens, New York, Lyons began photographing as a teenager, and after military service as a senior photographer in Korea from 1951 to 1953, earned a BA in English from Alfred University in 1957. Committed to the photographic sequence as a vehicle for expressing visual meaning, Lyons chose to present his own work in the context of photographic books. The three volumes Notations in Passing: Visualized by Nathan Lyons (1974), Riding 1st Class on the Titanic! (1999), and After 9/11 (2003) all scrutinize American culture through an investigation of various forms of public display.

Lyons made a significant impact on the field of photography in America during his tenure at George Eastman House...

Article

Style of painting popular in Europe and the USA mainly from the 1920s to 1940s, with some followers in the 1950s. It occupies a position between Surrealism and Photorealism, whereby the subject is rendered with a photographic naturalism, but where the use of flat tones, ambiguous perspectives, and strange juxtapositions suggest an imagined or dreamed reality. The term was introduced by art historian Frank Roh in his book Nach-Expressionismus: Magischer Realismus (1925) to describe a style deriving from Neue Sachlichkeit, but rooted in late 19th-century German Romantic fantasy. It had strong connections with the Italian Pittura Metafisica of which the work of Giorgio De Chirico was exemplary in its quest to express the mysterious. The work of Giuseppe Capogrossi and the Scuola Romana of the 1930s is also closely related to the visionary elements of Magic Realism. In Belgium its surreal strand was exemplified by René(-François-Ghislain) Magritte, with his ‘fantasies of the commonplace’, and in the USA by ...

Article

Magnum  

Nick Churchill

[Magnum Photos, Inc.]

International photographic agency, founded with offices in New York and Paris in April 1947 by the photographers Robert Capa, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Chim, George Rodger (1908–95), and William Vandivert (1912–89). In the period after World War II, when illustrated news magazines flourished, Magnum became the most famous of picture agencies. This was initially due to the reputation of its founder-members, who had photographed the Spanish Civil War (1936–9) and World War II (three of them as correspondents for Life magazine). Its celebrity was sustained by the success of its work, the quality of the photographers it continued to attract, and the deaths while on assignment of Capa (the driving force behind Magnum), Chim, and Werner Bischof, the first new member to be admitted.

Magnum was founded as an independent cooperative agency whose members could for the first time retain copyright of their negatives. This ensures an increased income from re-sales and a high degree of control over how pictures are published, to prevent any distortion of their meaning. The members each hold an equal share in Magnum and make policy decisions collectively. Magnum finances photographers’ projects and takes a percentage of their fees to cover administrative costs. This arrangement enables the photographers to travel and pursue their projects free from the usual constraints of agency work. Initially the company employed a number of freelance ‘stringers’ to supplement its income, but this practice declined as more members were admitted. Prospective members undergo a careful selection process. New offices opened in London in ...

Article

Tanya Sheehan

(b New York, NY, Feb 1, 1926; d Chicago, IL, April 21, 2009).

American amateur photographer of French descent. As a young girl Vivian Maier moved with her French-born mother to the village of Saint-Julien-en-Champsaur in the south-east of France. She relocated to her own birthplace of New York City in 1951. There she cultivated her interest in amateur photography, which had germinated in Saint-Julien-en-Champsaur. In 1956 she moved to the suburbs of Chicago, where she was employed as a caregiver for young children. She produced amateur films, audio recordings, and over 100,000 photographic negatives in Chicago that documented the city’s social history and development as well as aspects of her own life. Maier developed her own black-and-white film taken with a Rolleiflex camera until the early 1970s, at which point she began shooting in colour with Kodak Ektachrome 35mm film.

Maier produced her photographic work for private and largely personal consumption, sharing it with very few people during her lifetime. Financial difficulties led her to give up photography in the late 1990s and to place her large body of work in storage. Her storage locker and its myriad contents were auctioned off in Chicago in ...

Article

Susan Snodgrass

(b Madrid, Spain, 1961).

Chicago-based American sculptor also working in photography, video and installation. He received a BA in art and art history and a BA in Latin American and Spanish literature from Williams College in 1983. In 1989 he earned a MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Manglano-Ovalle’s hybrid practice emerged with Tele-vecindario: A Street-Level Video Block Party, a public art project created for Culture in Action, a community-based art program in Chicago in 1992–3. Working with Latino youth in Chicago’s West Town community, an area often challenged by substandard housing, drugs and gang violence, the artist facilitated a multimedia portrait of their lives in which these youth constructed their own images and concept of self. Issues of identity, community and migration, as they relate to both cultural and geographic borders, have been explored throughout his prestigious career that includes collaborative modes of working, as well as individual works sited within the museum or gallery. For Manglano-Ovalle, culture encompasses a broad network of systems—artistic, political, environmental, scientific—in constant dialogue, negotiated by both artist and viewer....

Article

Mary Chou

(b Lexington, VA, May 1, 1951).

American photographer. She studied photography at Putney School in Vermont (1966–9). She spent the following two years at Bennington College, VT, and then attended the Friends World College, New York. From 1971 to 1973 Mann took photography courses at the Praestegaard Film School, Fjerritslev, Denmark, the Aegean School of Fine Arts, Paros, Apeiron Workshops in Photography, Millerton, New York, and the Ansel Adams Yosemite Workshop, where she served as an assistant to Adams. She graduated from Hollins College, Roanoke, VA, with a BA in 1974, and received an MA in writing from the same school in 1975. Mann is well known for her series of black-and-white portraits of the children and landscapes of the American South, exposed through the lens of a large-format centenarian camera.

Mann first received acclaim for her portraits with At Twelve (1983–5), a collection of photographs of twelve-year-old girls in Lexington, VA, on the brink of adolescence. Her subsequent and most well-known series, ...

Article

Lee Fontanella

(b New York, Nov 4, 1946; d Boston, March 9, 1989).

American photographer, sculptor and collagist. In the early 1970s, after studying at the Pratt Institute of Art in Brooklyn (1963–70), he produced a number of assemblages and collages from magazine photographs often altered by spray painting. In one such work, Julius of California (1971; Charles Cowles priv. col., see Marshall, p. 21), he drew a circle around the male figure’s genitals as a subversion of the usual practice of censorship. He soon began to take his own black-and-white photographs with a Polaroid camera, incorporating them into collages (e.g. Self-portrait, 1971; Charles Cowles priv. col., see Marshall, p. 17) or arranging them in sequences, as in Patti Smith (Don’t Touch here) (1973; artist’s col., see Marshall, p. 27), a portrait of the poet and singer who was one of his favourite models. Within a year of showing his Polaroids in his first solo show (New York, Light Gal., ...

Article

Morgan Falconer

(b New York, June 22, 1943; d New York, Aug 27, 1978).

American sculptor, film maker, photographer and draughtsman. The son of painter Roberto Matta, he studied architecture in Ithaca, NY, at Cornell University (1962–8), where he mixed with artists and showed little ability for his chosen subject. There he met Robert Smithson, whose interests in land art and the theory of entropy (concerned with dissipating energy) were a significant influence on him. On completion of his studies he moved to New York and became a well-known figure among artists in SoHo. He is best known for a series of ‘building cuts’ (1972–8) in which he carved sections out of old buildings, treating them (in the manner of modern sculptures) as spatial compositions; see Splitting, 1943–1978. Calling these transformations ‘Anarchitecture’, Matta-Clark carved the buildings up with a chain saw, documenting the changes in films and photographs subsequently exhibited in galleries, often alongside fragments of the buildings themselves. His most celebrated work, ...

Article

Tom Williams

(b Salt Lake City, UT, Aug 4, 1945).

American sculptor and performance artist. He studied at the University of Utah between 1966 and 1968 before receiving a BFA from the San Francisco Art Institute in 1969 and an MFA from the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, in 1973. He is best known for the series of scatological and self-consciously perverse performances in which he has adopted such roles as a chef, an Abstract Expressionist painter, and even Santa Claus to explore complex psychoanalytic themes.

McCarthy’s early work participated in the late 1960s trends towards phenomenologically oriented installations and body art, but during the 1970s his work became increasingly preoccupied with transgressive bodily actions. In many of these performances, he would paint with his penis, insert objects into his rectum, or smear himself with ketchup or other viscous fluids. Such gestures often served to degrade and devalue conventional figures of authority or to expose the psycho-sexual underpinnings of contemporary culture. In his famous ...

Article

Sheryl Conkelton

(b Normal, IL, May 15, 1925; d Lexington, KY, May 7, 1972).

American photographer. An optician by profession, he made photographs that portray mysterious circumstances through blurred motion or masked faces. He studied with Van Deren Coke (1921–2004) at the University of Kentucky, Lexington, from 1944 to 1955 and with Henry Holmes Smith (1909–86) and Minor White at Indiana University, Bloomington, IN, in 1956. His early work consisted of experiments with focal length and long exposure, using bits of landscape as subject. Later, he developed a personal imagery, in which costumed figures emerge from murky backgrounds in a combination of black humour and pathos. His best-known work is the book The Family Album of Lucybelle Crater, published posthumously in Highlands, NC, in 1974, in which all of the snapshots are of masked family and friends.

The Family Album of Lucybelle Crater (Millerton, NY, 1974) Ralph Eugene Meatyard: An American Visionary (exh. cat., ed. B. Tannenbaum; Akron, OH, A. Mus., 1991)...

Article

Sheryl Conkelton

(b Baltimore, MD, June 21, 1948).

American photographer. She studied at Sarah Lawrence College, Bronxville, NY, graduated from Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, in 1971 and taught in public schools until she joined the photographic agency Magnum in 1976 on the strength of a black-and-white photographic essay on Carnival Strippers. A self-taught photojournalist, Meiselas did most of her photography in troubled locations or developing nations. She went to Chad and Cuba before travelling to Nicaragua in 1978; she was there when the Sandinista revolution erupted and later published her chronicle of the uprising in uncompromising colour photographs in Nicaragua (1981). She spent six years working with Kurdish tribes in Iran in the 1990s, producing a book and a collective Kurdish history website that invites contributions. She continues to work as a photojournalist.

Meiselas, Susan with C. Rosenberg: Nicaragua, June 1978–July 1979 (New York, 1981) El Salvador (New York, 1984) Chile: From within (New York, 1990)...

Article

Margaret Barlow

(b New York, June 3, 1938).

American photographer. He studied at Ohio State University, Columbus (1956–9), and worked in New York as an advertising art director (1959–63). In 1962 he accompanied Robert Frank on a photographic assignment. Deeply impressed by Frank’s work, he taught himself photography, becoming a freelance photographer in 1963. He documented New York streets and interiors with great spontaneity; his characteristic subjects were banal, empty rooms, the occupants either absent or caught unawares, for example a photograph of a woman in a room, Untitled (1966; New York, MOMA). In the late 1960s and early 1970s he was among the first photographers to work successfully in colour, finding new possibilities for nuance and effect, as in Madison Avenue and 60th Street (1976; artist’s col., see Turner, ed., p. 235). Meyerowitz taught colour photography at Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, New York (1971–9), and from ...

Article

Marco Livingstone

(Steven)

(b McKeesport, PA, Feb 18, 1932).

American photographer. He had no formal training but recognized his photographic aptitude when he took his first pictures as a tourist in the USSR in 1958. By 1960 he was earning his living through commercial work, including portraiture and fashion photography. In 1964, weary of the demands of photographing people, Michals responded to Eugène Atget’s pictures of depopulated Paris with his own views of empty New York shop interiors, which seemed to him like stage sets waiting to be animated. In 1966 he began to produce sequences depicting enigmatic encounters in a static setting as if in the frames of a film (pubd in Sequences, New York, 1970). These were inspired by the erotically charged domestic dramas painted by Balthus, whose canvas The Street (1933; New York, MOMA) served as the model for Michals’s first staged photograph. In order to accommodate the increasing elaboration of his narratives and often metaphysical themes, Michals began to write on the surfaces of such photographs as ...

Article

Mary Christian

[Elizabeth ; Lady Penrose ]

(b Poughkeepsie, NY, April 23, 1907; d Chiddingly, E. Sussex, July 21, 1977).

American photographer. She studied art briefly in Paris, before studying painting, theatrical design, and lighting at the Art Students League in New York (1927–8). From 1927 she worked as a model, Fashion photography, and writer for Vogue. Between 1929 and 1932 she lived with Man Ray in Paris and collaborated on photographs; together they developed the solarization process seen in Miller’s portrait of a woman, Paris (1930). She was a friend of Picasso and the community of Surrealism in Paris and in 1947 married Roland Penrose. From 1929 to 1934 she ran her own photographic studios in New York and then Paris, where her elegant portraits became widely sought after. After working as an independent photographer in the Middle East (1937–9), she became a member of the London War Correspondents Corps and worked for British Vogue. From 1944 to 1945 Miller was a war correspondent for the magazine in France, Germany, Romania, and on the Russian Front. Her early ...

Article

Celia Stahr

(b Bugok, South Korea, April 29, 1953).

American photographer and installation artist of Korean birth. Min came to the USA when she was seven and went on to study art at the University of California, Berkeley, receiving her BA in 1975, her MA in 1977 and her MFA in 1979. She has described herself as a child of Cold War politics and a member of the 1.5 generation who are Korean-born Americans. She occupies a liminal space, something that is often explored in her art. In Make Me (1989; see Cahan and Kocur, p. 85), she placed various texts, such as ‘Model Minority’, over four different bisected photographs of her face. These cut photographs with text force the viewer to confront common stereotypical images of Asian Americans.

In much of Min’s art, personal issues are tied to international power struggles, deCOLONIZATION (1991; see Neumaier, pp. 134–7), for example is a mixed-media installation that examines the social and psychological impact of colonialism on Korean women. In the centre of the installation a traditional Korean dress, on which there are handwritten excerpts in Korean and English from Won Ko’s poem ...

Article

Monica Majoli

(b Shreveport, LA, 1948).

American painter, photographer, and video artist. Minter received her MFA from Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY, in 1972. She produced a series of paintings from the late 1970s that mined the banal quotidian in virtuosic, conceptually driven photorealistic oil paintings featuring affectless expanses of grey linoleum floor as a backdrop for plywood, aluminium foil, and coffee stains in nearly abstract compositions. By 1989 Minter began using her signature imagery of the female body severely cropped, often for erotic effect, either using hardcore pornography as source material or eliciting references to pornographic imagery as a subtext in self-staged photographic shoots. A master of surface and illusion, Minter’s enamel paintings on aluminum belie their photographic source material, created at first hand by Minter and reconfigured in Photoshop from as many as 20 or 30 darkroom negatives. Idiosyncratically, the final layer of sticky enamel paint is finessed by fingertip to obscure brush marks—the fingerprints are revealed on close observation. Insisting on the triumph of the body over its image in this overt indexical trace, Minter restated the tactile nature of painting itself just as she used photography to capture her subject and shock her spectator. The Baroque period is cited as a historical precursor of Minter’s oeuvre, revelling as it does in passion over rationality, shimmering, gilded excess, and monumental compositional undulations reminiscent of flesh itself and its urges. Like painters of the 17th century, Minter also employed a studio of artists who assisted her in creating all facets of her production, a system of making she employed from ...

Article

Reinhold Misselbeck

[née Seybert, Elise Felice Amélie]

(b Vienna, Nov 10, 1906; d New York, March 30, 1983).

American photographer of Austrian birth. A school-friend of Gertrude Schœnberg, she studied music first with her father Arnold Schœnberg, before continuing her studies in Paris. She was a self-taught photographer and tried to find ways of working in photography, training as a technician in a photographic laboratory. In 1938 she settled in New York. Two years later the photographer Ralph Steiner (1899–1986) published her series of photographs, Promenade des Anglais, which she had taken in Nice in 1937. The series was characteristic of her work in revealing her obvious love of people, seen for example in Promenade des Anglais (1937; see Abbott, p. 22), which depicts a rotund woman in a large sunhat, sitting precariously on a bench. The photographers Alexey Brodovitch (1898–1971) and Beaumont Newhall (b 1908) were impressed by her work.

After 1941 Model worked as a freelance photographer for the magazines ...

Article

Terence A. Senter

(b Bácsborsod, Mohol Puszta, Hungary, July 20, 1895; d Chicago, Nov 24, 1946).

American painter, sculptor, photographer, designer, film maker, theorist, and teacher, of Hungarian birth. Moholy-Nagy’s importance in the 20th century is based as much on his theories as on his practical work. His ideologies related to the relationship between space, time, and light, and the interaction of man with these forces. His great achievement was that he applied his mystical outlook to highly practical enterprises and always recognized the purpose behind his creativity.

Moholy-Nagy’s ambition developed when he exchanged village life for the city of Szeged after his father left his family. Academically outstanding, Moholy-Nagy read law for a year at Budapest University before joining the artillery in World War I. Influential praise for his war sketches converted his aspiration from literature to art. His Expressionist style, social conscience, and investigation of light paralleled trends in the Hungarian avant-garde, from ...

Article

Lauren Summersgill

(b Havana, 1948).

Cuban American photographer. Morell specialized in photographic illustration using camera obscura and tent camera techniques. He received his BA from Bowdoin College in Brunswick, ME, and completed his MFA at Yale University School of Art, in New Haven, CT, in 1981. In 1997 Bowdoin College awarded Morell an Honorary Doctorate of Fine Art. His exploration of the large-format view camera led in 1991 to his breakthrough imagery in gelatin silver-print in which he created a camera obscura out of his son’s bedroom, photographing the overlay of a projected image on the furnished room. Morell’s photographs produced using the device of room-as-camera were defined by works such as Brooklyn Bridge in Bedroom (1997), in which the inverted image of the Brooklyn Bridge overlays a plain bedroom with staggered walls; the clear lines of both structures combine to create an uncanny reimagining of the familiar. In 2005 Morell began to incorporate colour into his works, bringing a sense of fantasy to his pictures, enhanced by the additional use of a dioptre lens to reduce the long exposure of his silverprint images, allowing him to capture ethereal objects such as clouds and shadows in his final image....