Monday’s Inspiration – Eva Besnyo

Born in Budapest, Eva Besnyö was brought up in a well-to-do Jewish home. In 1928, she started to study photography at József Pécsi‘s studio where she also served as an apprentice.

In 1930, she moved to Berlin where she became Peter Weller’s assisitant. first worked for advertising photographer René Ahrlé before working on with press photographer  Peter Weller. She became part of the social and political circle of intellectuals which included  Gyorgy Kepes, Joris Ivens,  Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, Otto Umbehr and Robert Capa.

The city is, at the time, a modernist and experimental centre where she plays with objects within precise compositions before exploring the lives of workers, the swimmers of the Wannsee lido or the games of gypsy children. Sensing the imminent political turn of Germany, she moved to Amsterdam where, introduced by artists such as Gerrit Rietveld, she earned recognition. There, she documented the innovative and functional forms of a new architecture and, inspired by the New Vision movement, she experiments different perspectives, playing with angles and framing.

In 1931, she opened her own studio where she was successful in receiving agency work. Her well-known photograph of the gipsy boy with a cello on his back stems from that period. Threatened by the onset of National Socialism in 1932, she moved to Amsterdam with her Dutch friend John Fernhout whom she married. With the assistance of Charley Toorop, she participated in exhibitions which led to commissions in press photography, portraits, fashion and architecture.

Her solo exhibition in the Van Lier art gallery in 1933 consolidated her recognition in the Netherlands. Besnyö experienced a further breakthrough with her architectural photography only.

In 1934 she became a member of the association of artists for the defense of cultural rights. In this capacity she participated in the association’s 1936 protest exhibition against the Berlin Olympic Games, the “Olympics under Dictatorship” and organised the internationally-oriented exhibition “Foto ’37” at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, intended to enhance awareness of photography as an art form.

After the capitulation of the Netherlands army in May 1940, as the conditions of Jews steadily deteriorated, Eva Besnyö was forbidden to engage in all journalistic activities. In 1942, when her sole source of income was a few private commissions, she went underground for two years. After the war she received numerous commissions for photo-documentation and remained professionally active, though she was now the mother of a son (born in 1945) and a daughter (born in 1948), fathered by the graphic designer Wim Brusse, from whom she separated in 1968.

From 1970 to 1976 Eva Besnyö was active in the Dolle-Mina feminist movement for women’s rights and through her photographs became the chronicler of events. In 1980 she rejected the Ritterorden (knighthood) which was to have been bestowed on her by the Queen of the Netherlands. In 1999, in Berlin, the “grand old lady” of Dutch photography was awarded the Dr. Erich Salomon Award for her life’s work and at the end of the same year the Stedelijk Museum held an exhibition of her work.

 

Untitled, 1933 (John Fernhout, Anneke van der Feer, Joris Ivens, Westkapelle, Zeeland, Pays-Bas) /Eva Besnyö /sc

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Photography struggles – Self doubt

Every so often, I learn more about photography as an art form but I have also struggled with some part. From finding balance between pursuing the photography that I love and posting images that is expected of me or things that get the most likes. I’ve also felt the pressure of gear upgrade every time I open a magazine.

Some days, I feel drained and I’m not sure where to start, how to grow etc… On other days, I feel really inspired and have creative ideas oozing out of my head. For me photography is a passion that comes from the heart, the passion to try new things, a passion to create and hopefully make a difference. I share my images in the hope that it will say something to someone at the same tile I get a sense of accomplishment.

We all have our struggle. One of mine being self doubt. Tho this day, when I finish an image, I send it to my friend who lives in France and an accountant what she thinks. Sometimes she says yes, while other tîmes she simply just says to me that she doesn’t understand it. Then she asks me, is it what you are looking to achieve, if my answer is yes, then it’s ready. No matter which stage we are at during our journey, we always have that doubt creep in from time to time.

Beeing too critical can be detrimental to our own progress and it also hinders our growth especially comparing ourselves to others. I would personally like to take a leaf out of the photographer Cole Thompson book. In order to create images that are of his vision, he doesn’t look at any else work and when he’s visiting a new place to photograph, he doesn’t look at google images for images of the area prior to his visit. I have seen his work and I believe they are the most genuine and authentic images that I’ve ever seen. His story telling and vision is completely unique.

We all have doubt. Even Michelangelo wrote in his book that he is no painter. Had he chosen to give up right there and then, we would never have been privileged to witness his talent. He chose to carry despite his doubts.

I like to remind myself to enjoy the journey, the good, the bad and the ugly. It is what makes it a true experience and to remember to stick to my vision no matter how many great photographers work I truly admire.

Everyone has doubts including the Masters but how we choose to deal with those doubts is what can make and break us.

Monday’s Inspiration – Philippe Halsman

“Most people stiffen with self-consciousness when they pose for a photograph. Lighting and fine camera equipment are useless if the photographer cannot make them drop the mask, at least for a moment, so he can capture on his film their real, undistorted personality and character”- Philippe Halsman

Philippe Halsman was born in Riga and began to take photographs in Paris in the 1930s. He opened a portrait studio in Montparnasse in 1934, where he photographed André Gide, Marc Chagall, André Malraux, Le Corbusier and other writers and artists, using an innovative twin-lens reflex camera that he had designed himself.

He then moved to the United States in 1940, just after the fall of France, having obtained an emergency visa through the intervention of Albert Einstein.

In the course of his career, Halsman produced reportage and covers for most major American magazines, including a staggering 101 covers for Life magazine. His assignments brought him face-to-face with many of the century’s leading personalities.

In 1945, he was elected the first president of the American Society of Magazine Photographers, where he led the fight for photographers’ creative and professional rights. His work soon won international recognition, and in 1951, he was invited by the founders of Magnum Photos to join the organization as a ‘contributing member’, so that they could syndicate his work outside the United States. This arrangement still stands.

Halsman began a thirty-seven-year collaboration with Salvador Dalí in 1941 which resulted in a stream of unusual Photographs of Ideas, including Dalí Atomicus and the Dalí’s Mustache series.

In the early 1950s, Halsman began to ask his subjects to jump for his camera at the conclusion of each sitting. These uniquely witty and energetic images have become an important part of his photographic legacy.

Here are some of those great images

 

US comic actor Groucho MARX. 1952.
US actress Marilyn MONROE
Spanish Surrealist Painter Salvador DALI. 1954.
The American trumpeter, singer, composer and conductor Louis ARMSTRONG.
British filmmaker Alfred HITCHCOCK, during the filming of “The Birds”. 1962.
Dutch actress Audrey HEPBURN posing for a LIFE Magazine cover image.
American actress Grace KELLY
French actress Brigitte BARDOT jumping in front of her villa, “La Madrague.”
1958. The Duke and Duchess of Windsor.
Tippi HEDREN, main actress in the movie “The Birds”. In the background: British film director Alfred HITCHCOCK. 1962.
New York City. 1965. Barbra STREISAND
Russian-born writer Vladimir NABOKOV chasing butterflies near his home.
The American actor and film director Woody ALLEN.
British Prime Minister Winston CHURCHILL with his poodle, Rufus
American actors Dean MARTIN and Jerry LEWIS.
British Prime Minister Winston CHURCHILL.
American actress Marilyn MONROE. 1952.
1952. US Senator from Massachusetts John F. KENNEDY.

Monday’s Inspiration – Peter Dombrovskis

Peter Dombrovskis as an Australian photographer. Dombrovskis was born in Wiesbaden, Germany in 1945.  He emigrated to Australia with his mother Adele and started taking photographs in the 1960’s. He was strongly influenced by Lithuanian-Australian pioneer, conservationist and photographer Olegas Truchanas, who became a father figure to him. He was equally influenced by landscape photographers of mid-century America such as Ansel Adams, Edward and Brett Weston and Eliot Porter.

 

Pic 19

My first zine……

I’ve been creating for a while now and  I felt that I need something tangible. Something that would allow me to push myself further in my work. There’s nothing better than seeing  your work printed. You can also learn so much through printing. All the flaws, every little thing that you may have missed, everything is revealed.

For that reason I really exited to announce my first self- published Zine. A small collection of my recent work. It is a collection of some my favourite images. It is the first big step that I’ve taken since I’ve started on this journey.

This particular zine took about 4 months to put together. Images, design and everything have been put together by myself then came the proofing to find the right paper to use for the images.

It is a 40 page A4 zine printed right here in the UK. I’ve only printed a limited amount of 150 copies to be purchased and it would truly mean a lot if you can purchase a copy. It is now available to order. Kindly email me at pamela.aminou@gmail.com your interest.

Thank you all for your support!!!

 

Zinne 2Zine 3Zine 1

Photography and mortality

I’ve recently started to read a photographer named Eric Kim’s blog and I came across one of his articles on why we photograph?

Eric mentioned that “Photography is a meditation on mortality. Whoever we photograph will eventually die. And we will eventually die. We seek immortality through making photos.” This got me thinking on whether it is true.

I certainly agree that it is a meditation for me but I haven’t thought as far as my mortality as yet. But I’ve come to agree with his point of view. We will all eventually die, and what we create will eventually be our legacy. We are all familiar with photography Masters. Why do we consider them masters and why do we love their work?

We consider as such because they are the master of their field and we love their work because it is unique to the individual which is what I love. You can see the difference between Henri Cartier-Bresson images and that of Brassaï. Their strive to be themselves and tell their own stories which make them personal.

Late last year, I was reminded of how much life is short and I promised myself to make the most of everyday. This reminder pushes me to be a little more personal in my work and to create whenever possible. Maybe it is my way to subconsciously deal with my mortality.

Why do you you photograph?

 

 

 

 

Monday’s inspiration – Gustave Marissiaux

Gustave Marissiaux was a Belgian pictorial photographer and a law student, before he took up photography in 1894. During the same year, he was elected t to the Belgian Association of Photography (B. A.P.). His country views denote a symbolist influence.

Portrait is also an important part of his work. He not only practised it as a professional, in the studio he opened in Liиge in 1899, but also as an artist, in numerous “Studies.” Recognised as one of the most important Belgian Pictorialist, he not only took part in the national Salons of the B.A.P., but also in several European Salons. By combining photography projection, poetry and music, he created a new form of “total spectacle,” based on his images of Venice (1903). A public order was addressed to Marissiaux by the Syndicate of Coal Board. This series of stereoscopic views entitled “The Coalmine,” and the album “Artist’s Visions” (1908), are Marissiaux’s most well-known works. He also elaborated a colour technique with the collaboration of Joseph Sury, in the course of the 1910’s and 1920’s.