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Masters of Photography Ready For Your Art Collection

  • Martha Cooper - Reclaim the Streets
February 27, 2020
Balasz Takac is alias of Vladimir Bjelicic who is actively engaged in art criticism, curatorial and artistic practice.

Ever since its invention, photography has altered the way humans interact with their memories, fascinations or objects of desire. Reasonably this medium has changed much in the past few decades thanks to technology and perhaps it lost the former aura due the mass production and commodification. Nevertheless, contemporary photographers still keep themselves occupied by carefully observing every day in an innovative and aesthetically or critically balanced fashion.

To remind you how relevant photography still is we selected the works by ten contemporary photographers that you can add to your art collection as you read the text below.

Featured image: Martha Cooper – Reclaim the Streets, 2017. All images courtesy of their respective galleries.

  • Candida Hofer - Hospicio Cabanas

Candida Hofer - Hospicio Cabanas Capilla Tolsa from Daniel Buren work in situ Guadalajara I

The first artwork on our top list was made by Candida Hofer, an influential German photographer best known for her grand depictions of empty interiors, primarily cultural and institutional spaces, such as opera houses, libraries, and zoos. She was the student of the celebrated artist duo Bernd and Hilla Becher, and her work is characterized by a well-articulated approach and technical precision. From 1997 to 2000, Hofer served as a professor at the Hochschule für Gestaltung (College of Design) in Karlsruhe, and in 2018 she received Outstanding Contribution to Photography award.

This particular photograph was made by the artist in 2015 and it depicts a multicolored space of a Romanesque structure.

Buy the work here.

  • Thomas Ruff - Nudes ga08

Thomas Ruff - Nudes ga08

The next work was made by Hofer’s former classmate, and equally celebrated photographer, Thomas Ruff. His impeccable body of work includes sharp portraits, shoots of domestic interiors, photograms, found JPEGs and blurred pornography. Ruff gained international fame for blurring the line between reality and fiction by collaging, layering and rendering images. His works are held in major international art collections.

This particular work belongs to his blurred pornography series and was made by the artist in 2001.

Buy the work here.

  • Massimo Vitali - Mondello Paddle Boats

Massimo Vitali - Mondello Paddle Boats #2783, ed 35

An Italian photographer Massimo Vitali is celebrated for his outstanding large scale color photographs of mass leisure spaces such as pools, ski resorts, beaches, and piazzas around the world. Always shot from a distance, those images depict people interacting with one another and the environment indicating the position of a voyeur. The majority of these works were featured in his seminal photobooks Landscapes with Figures (2004) and Natural Habitats (2010), while some of the prints found their way in the world’s leading art collections.

This photograph perfectly illustrates Vitali’s approach.

Buy the work here.

  • JR - 28 Millimetres

JR - 28 Millimetres, Portrait D'une Generation, B11, Destruction #1 Montfermeil, France

This artwork was made by a renowned French photographer and graffiti artist JR whose fly-papering photocopies that are easily found in public space marked his activity as relevant. As a photographer he started out by documenting his own graffiti activity; JR used to take pictures of his friends and acquaintances juxtaposed against the Parisian walls. Some of his projects are socially engaged and participative and are often shown in art galleries and museums around the world.

This shot from 2013 features part of a destructed building in Paris.

Buy the work here.

  • Luigi Ghirri - Modena

Luigi Ghirri - Modena (Serie: Still Life)

Luigi Ghirri was an Italian artist and photographer who is considered a pioneer and master of contemporary photography. Inspired by conceptual art in the early 1970s he started producing color photographs of landscapes and architecture in a deadpan manner. Ghirri used to work in series, taking shoots of Italian beaches, parks, and urban scenes. The ability to evoke nostalgia and prescience with a strong color pallet made him one of the forerunners of color photography.

This particular work was made by the photographer in 1978 and it belongs to Still Life series.

Buy the work here.

  • Martha Cooper - Reclaim the Streets

Martha Cooper - Reclaim the Streets

The next photograph on our top list was made by the influential American photojournalist Martha Cooper. She started her career as the New York Post staff photographer in the 1970s, during which she documented the birth and development of the New York City graffiti scene. Ever since she specialized in street art, and some of the most memorable photographs of legendary practitioners such as Dondi White and Keith Haring were made by Cooper.

This particular work was made by this notable photographer in 2017.

Buy the work here.

  • Andy Warhol Photograph of Martha Graham and Liza Minnelli

Andy Warhol - Photograph of Martha Graham and Liza Minnelli at a Halston Fashion Show, 1979

Except being an avid painter who championed silkscreen as a technique, Andy Warhol was also a dedicated photographer. As a matter of fact, he used his camera anytime and was quite attached to it. From his black and white to Polaroid shots, Warhol depicted different social situations, but also a significant number of portraits of artists, celebrities, queers and misfits who surrounded him all the time.

This particular image was taken by the artist in 1979 at Halston Fashion Show, and it depicts the iconic modern dancer-choreographer, Martha Graham, in a dialog with the famed actress Liza Minnelli.

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  • Wolfgang Tillmans - Milkspritz

Wolfgang Tillmans - Milkspritz

This work was made by an influential contemporary German photographer Wolfgang Tillmans. Inspired by the 1990s emerging rave scene and LGBTQ culture, he developed a specific aesthetic that gradually received cult status and was largely favored by the fashion magazines. Alongside diaristic photography, Tillman’s practice includes large-scale abstraction, as well as commissioned magazine work.

Milkspritz is the photograph Tillmans made in 1994.

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  • Ryan McGinley - Molly and Paul

Ryan McGinley - Molly & Paul

The work of a contemporary American photographer Ryan McGinley is recognized for his casual snapshot style and the depictions of young nudes. He emerged as an outsider in the art world in the late 1990s and gained much critical attention that by the age of twenty-five McGinley had a solo show at the Whitney Museum of American Art. Initially, the photographer used to stage his friends as models, but in recent years he also takes pictures of celebrities. Similarly like Tillmans, McGinley influence an entire generation of artists and young creatives.

Molly & Paul is a photograph made by the artist in 2015.

Buy the work here.

  • Mickalene Thomas - Calder Series

Mickalene Thomas - Calder Series #1

The last but not least is this colorful work by an interdisciplinary artist Mickalene Thomas who is known for exploring art history and popular culture from a contemporary perspective of female beauty, sexuality, and power. Thomas produces complex portraits, landscapes, and interiors to question the notion of identity, gender, and race. The artist’s signature material is rhinestones which she uses to underline additional layers of meaning.

This particular image is an homage to Alexander Calder, as the title suggests, and was made by Thomas in 2013.

Buy the work here.