Material World Photo Essay

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William Eggleston pushed the artistic boundaries of colour by using it to explore the banality of small-town existence; along these same lines, Candida Höfer used colour to emphasize the tedium of institutional life.Richard Misrach created a massive project, known as the From the 1970s on, as the advent of television news began to affect the popularity of picture magazines, many photojournalists whose work had been published in magazines began to take advantage of a burgeoning interest in photographic picture books.These, often produced in conjunction with exhibits, comprised photographs of newsworthy events or topics of social interest along with informative texts.Working in black and white, Swiss-born photographer Claudia Andujar (working in Brazil) and Mexican photographer Graciela Iturbide portrayed indigenous peoples—groups they believed were becoming marginalized by society—and their customs.Other important figures included English photographer Don Mc Cullin, who portrayed the devastation brought about by wars in Vietnam and in Africa; French photojournalist Raymond Depardon, who worked in Asia, Africa, and Europe; American Mary Ellen Mark, who photographed street performers and prostitutes in India, depicted street children in Seattle, Washington, and spent time documenting the inmates of a mental hospital; and Brazilian photographer Sebastião Salgado, who examined work and workers throughout the world, exhibiting and publishing a number of books on that topic.Among the important photographers of this generation were Shōmei Tomatsu, who made vivid images on the streets of Tokyo; Eikō Hosoe, who captured imagery evoking human sensuality; and Hiroshi Sugimoto, who was entranced by images conveying stillness and emptiness.For a period the government in China exerted control over photographic imagery, but by the late 20th century photographers had found some freedoms.Levitt was following the steps of Cartier-Bresson, Brassaï, and André Kertész—the best known of the many European photographers of the 1930s–50s who used their small cameras to capture the vitality of urban life.Roy De Carava documented his native Harlem and the civil rights movement; he said that he strove for “a creative expression, the kind of penetrating insight and understanding of Negroes which I believe only a Negro photographer can interpret.” This kind of street photography, made possible by the increasing availability of light portable cameras with fast-acting mechanisms, appealed to photographers around the world.Continuing the example set by Arbus, a gritty sort of social documentation emerged beginning in the 1970s and ’80s, when photographers such as Larry Clark and Nan Goldin documented alternative lifestyles involving drug addiction, transvestism, and casual sex.In particular, Goldin created an elaborate series titled , through which she compiled an evolving record of the people she and her camera encountered.

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