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Archive 3    July - August 2000

For articles, see F2 eZine    Archive 3   July - August 2000
i
ncludes Book Reviews WIPI News, Marketing and Industry News

also see Gallery Highlights


Galleries

Gallery One

Gisela Gamper
Featured Artist

Gallery Two

Georgeann Galante
Member Profile

Gallery Three

Gisele Freund
Historical Profile


Gallery One
Featured PROfessional Artist

Gisela Gamper
New York City

Gisela Gamper has been photographing and exhibiting for the last 25 years. Since the early 1990's she has employed photo montage and more recently digital manipulation to superimpose a variety of textures on female torsos.

In 1999 Gamper started to collaborate and perform with composer David Gamper. For their collaboration See Hear Now, Gisela collects and edits video imagery which she mixes and projects in concert with DavidĚs improvised music. In performance, they seek to merge the visual and the sonic in the moment and create an immersing environment which transcends each medium.

In 2000 See Hear Now has performed at Knitactive at the Knitting Factory in New York City, Agnes Scott College in Georgia, Stone Ridge Center for the Arts in upstate New York, Bowdoin College in Maine and at Roulette in New York City.

In 1999 Gisela Gamper's digital photographs 'Urban Dresses' were exhibited at CEPA Gallery in Buffalo, NY. The Rice Gallery, Albany Institute of History & Art included her prints in the exhibit 'Attention to Detail'.

Among her grants and awards are two Fellowship Grants from the Vermont Council on the Arts in 1985 and 1990, and the Hasselblad Cover Award in 1991. For two concurrent solo exhibtions in New Orleans in 1997, the Contemporary Artists Collection of Station Hill Arts by Barrytown, Ltd. published Fabrications, a catalogue of her photographs with text by Rachel Pollack. Gisela Gamper currently lives and works in New York City.

Email Gisela Gamper.

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Gallery Two
Member Profile & Portfolio

Georgeann Galante
Brooklyn, Michigan

It was Steichen's images that planted the first seeds of thought that lead me to photography. His images were like paintings. I was awed. That was over a decade ago. At the time I was studying watercolor and started using a 35mm SLR to shoot images that I would later paint. However, the more I looked into the viewfinder the more I became addicted to photographing my images instead of painting them.

B/W is my favorite medium, although I do enjoy working with color transparencies, especially for Polaroid emulsion/image Transfers. I recently started an Adobe Photoshop5.5 class and can't wait to see what will come of it. I am also a student of the New York Institute of Photography.

I have been residing on a lake in Michigan for the past eleven years and that affords me endless images of wildlife and the change of seasons. Living with my husband, four dogs, two cats and two parrots give me plenty of subjects to shoot.

Photography allows me to express my creativity and enables me to learn new things every day. It's because of photography that I look at life from a new perspective. The world holds so many images, so many stories, there's just not enough time in the day.

Georgeann Galante.



Gallery Index



Gallery Three
HIstorical Portfolio

Gisele Freund
Paris, France

No study of the history and critical theory of photography is complete without a reading of Gisele Freund's 'Photography and Society.'

Gisele Freund died on 31 March this year (2000) at the age of 91. Her name may not mean anything to many photographers, particularly in America, as American writers have largely overlooked both her photography and her contribution to photographic history. Being European, intellectual and a socialist didn't help.

Freund was born near Berlin on Nov 19, 1908; her family was wealthy and Jewish and her father was a keen art collector, with an interest in the work of photographer Karl Blossfeldt who was producing his close-up studies exploring the forms in natural objects. Freund's father gave her a Leica as a present for her high school graduation. At university she became an active member of a student socialist group and was determined to use photography as an integral part of her socialist practice. One of her best-known early works shows one of the last political street demonstrations in Germany before Hitler took power. The people have taken over the street in a May Day rally in Frankfurt in 1932. Freund shows them as a powerful mass with a common purpose, but not as an undifferentiated crowd, concentrating our attention on the three people in the foreground and in particular the young woman in the centre of the frame.

Freund studied sociology at the world famous Institute for Social Research of Frankfurt University where she studied with Theodor Adorno and Karl Mannheim as well as her tutor Norbert Elias, the leading social theorists of the day. Her research was into the effect of the invention and development of photography on the portrait, but before she could complete it, she had to flee for her life as she heard that the police were about to arrest her. In 1933, with Hitler taking over she was doubly threatened as a socialist activist and also as a Jew, and managed to escape to Paris, her negatives strapped around her body to get them past the border guards.

In Paris

In Paris she continued her research at the Sorbonne, making friends with a number of the leading intellectual and literary figures, notably Walter Benjamin, who had written his 'A Short History of Photography' some two years earlier, though he is probably better known for his longer essay from 1936, 'The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction.' Benjamin was one of few who encouraged her research - most people thought she was made to study photography - and he wrote appreciatively about her doctoral thesis, which she presented in 1936.

In the Paris Left Bank bookshop 'La Maison des Amis des Livres,' Freund got to know the owner, miltant feminist writer Adrienne Monnier, who became a life-long friend. Monnier was the long-term companion of Sylvia Beach, the expatriate American owner of the famous 'Shakespeare & Company' bookshop and publisher of James Joyce. Through Monnier and Beach, Freund met all the leading literary figures in Paris, and photographed most of them. Her first exhibition, of colour portraits, was mounted in Monnier's bookshop and included portraits of Louis Aragon, Simone de Beauvoir, Samuel Beckett, Andre Breton, Jean Cocteau, Ernest Hemingway, Francois Mauriac, Jean-Paul Sartre and other leading literary figures.

Like the portraits by Berenice Abbott, who photographed many of these same figures a few years earlier, Freund's pictures are direct and unposed, generally making great use of natural light. Often Freund captures a more dramatic gesture, expression or stance and her pictures are usually more tightly cropped. Most of the well-known Freund portraits are of men, while Abbott photographed many notable women. In 1935 Freund photographed Andre Malraux, author of 'La Condition Humaine,' and many years later France's first Minister of Culture; the best known of the pictures of him outdoors in a coat, romantic, dramatic and just slightly dishevelled has a cigarette dangling from his lip. In these more correct times a version without this is preferred.

Also in 1935, Freund travelled to the Newcastle area in the north of England to photograph the living conditions in this distressed area at the height of the Depression. When she added a second section to her thesis to produce her seminal book 'Photography and Society' in the 1970s, she used the treatment of this story in 'Life' as an example of how the meaning of photographs can be changed by their juxtaposition with other pictures.

Freund's Newcastle pictures show men and children in rags, and women 'with ravaged faces (who) did not have the money to pay their rent or feed their families.' This was the time of the Simpson scandal, when the love affair of the British monarch with an American divorcee led to his being forced to abdicate the throne by the moral outrage of the English establishment. Opposite Freund's pictures of abject poverty and desperation, 'Life' published a picture of the Queen Mother 'in a lace dress, covered with jewels ... flanked by the two princesses, Elizabeth and Margaret Rose, who were entrancing in their immaculate dresses. The brutal contrast made any caption pointless. Mrs Simpson was avenged in the eyes of liberal America.'

No study of the history and critical theory of photography is complete without a reading of Gisele Freund's 'Photography and Society'. Her doctoral thesis, published some forty years earlier had been the first thesis ever published on photography as a social force, and the revised work was still groundbreaking. Escape and after.

One day in 1940, Freund received a phone call from a friend warning her to leave Paris immediately. Again she was fleeing from her life from the Nazis, jumping on a train to the south of France with only her bicycle. Eventually, thanks to the intervention of Malraux, she was able to leave and find refuge in Argentina for the rest of the war.

She continued to photograph in Argentina, producing work on Tierra del Fuego and also a series of portraits of Eva Peron, then at the height of her career. After the war she travelled to Mexico, becoming friends with painters Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera.

From around 1947 she had been involved with Robert Capa and the great photo agency had founded, Magnum, which handled her pictures, and on her return to France in 1952 her invited her to become a full member, although she never became one of the key members of the 'family.' Although there are several versions of the story of her relations with Magnum and how she left, none of which show the organisation in a good light.

In 1954, at the height of cold war hysteria in the USA, Capa became worried that her presence would result in Magnum being blacklisted in America and she was thrown out of the organisation. Capa himself had just completed a very expensive legal battle to recover his American passport - vital for his work - which had been taken away from him the previous year when someone (possibly a jilted lover) had reported, quite laughably, that he was a Communist. Even Margaret Bourke-White had had similar problems a couple of years earlier. So Freund's avowed political allegiances - and the fact she was on the McCarthy blacklist - could have presented a real problem for the organisation.

Freund spent the rest of her life in her adopted country of France, living in a book-lined Paris home. She worked on a number of books, including 'James Joyce in Paris: His Final Years' with V.B. Carleton, and several autobiographical works. Towards the end of the '60s she had a major retrospective show at the Paris Muse d'Art Moderne, and more recently her photographs have been shown in Paris, Milan, Berlin, Hamburg, Frankfurt and elsewhere. She was more or less the official photographer of the French Socialist Party, and it was her official portrait of Francois Mitterrand that appeared on almost every French street corner during his long presidency. In 1980 she was awarded France's 'Grand Prize for Photography.'

BOOKS

Most of these are currently out of print.

Gisele Freund, Photographer
Freund, Gisele:
Published in USA 1985. 205 plates (50 color, the rest duotone black and white) documenting her 50 year career, including portraits of Walter Benjamin, Paul Valery, Colette, James Joyce, George Bernard Shaw; Virginia Woolf, Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Samuel Beckett, Tennessee Williams, John Steinbeck, Robert Lowell, Mary McCarthy.

James Joyce In Paris: His Final Years
Freund, Gisele and Carleton, V. B. (preface by Simone de Beauvoir):
Published in 1965 includes b&w photographs of Joyce, his family and friends, and Paris in the 30's Photography & Society Freund, Gisele: Published in France in 1974, the English version appeared in the UK and USA in 1980. Should be required reading for any photography course.

Three Days with Joyce
Freund, Gisele / Ginna, Peter St. J.
Remarkable photographs of James Joyce, with friends and family, correcting proofs of his famous novel Finnegan's Wake.

The World In My Camera
Freund, Gisele
English version 1974.


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Gallery Index