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3 world – famous self-taught photographers

By Juli 14, 2020 No Comments

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L i s a  L u k i a n o v a

3 world-famous self-taught photographers

In this article we are happy to introduce you to the three world-famous self-taught photographers –Koto Bolofo, Vivian Maier, Lillian Bassman . On their example it can be proven that there is no boundaries on the direct path of doing what you love to do, and sooner or later your talent will see the world!

Koto Bolofo

Koto Bolofo was born in South Africa in 1959 and grew up in England. Despite having no formal education in photography, he moved up quickly in the industry and has become internationally renowned for his work. In 1980 he independently studied the basics of photography and by chance initiated active shooting and cooperation with such prominent magazines as GQ, Vogue and Vanity Fair. 

Koto Bolofo’s most celebrated and long standing work is with the French haute couture house Hermes (at the personal invitation of its president Jean-Louis Dumas) regarding the documentation of the house’s interior work. During this period, Koto Bolofo also published several famous books: Vroom! Vroom!, La Maison, Horse Power, Grand Complication.

Notwithstanding the lack of formal photography education and the use of only basic adjustments, based on natural light and an antique lm camera, Koto Bolofo’s pictures are intimate but full of texture and coloration, and according to his own words have captured „raw luxury“ which is exceptional for himself. Bolofo has a rather romantic vision of photography and aspires to „capture from within a timeless point“ through his lens. To gain a closer link to his models, he visits them all before starting filming so that they can „grow up like friends“.

„You have to love people and understand them,“ Bolofo tells you.. It became his ambition to lay the foundation of man, and through the seat to open up his personal joy.

Vivian Maier

American photographer, who was working in the field of street photography. She was unknown during her lifetime as a photographer, and her photo archive was found accidentally at a sale.

Vivian Mayer’s work was a genuine opening to photographic light. Working as a governess and nanny in American families, Vivian devoted all her free time to photography.
Sometime in 1949, while being still in France, Maier began making her first photographs with a modest Kodak Brownie– an amateur camera with only one shutter speed, no focus control, and no aperture dial. In 1951, she returned from France alone and purchased a Rolleiflex camera the following year. In 1956, she moved to the North Shore suburbs of Chicago, where a family employed her as a nanny for their three boys. She enjoyed the luxury of a darkroom as well as a private bathroom, enabling her to process prints and develop her own rolls of black and white film. As the children entered adulthood, Maier had to seek other employment, forcing her to abandon developing her own film. Moving from family to family thereafter, her rolls of undeveloped, unprinted work began to collect.She never printed her work, and she never even showed most of the films, but she carefully preserved the footage.
After his death, the property of the author was put up for auction – so many years of work Meyer fell into the hands of the historian John Maluf, who, realizing the value of the material came to him, dedicated his life to promote the name of Meyer and her work.

“Well, I suppose nothing is meant to last forever. We have to make room for other people. It’s a wheel. You get on, you have to go to the end. And then somebody has the same opportunity to go to the end and so on.” – Vivian Maier

Lillian Bassman

It is not by chance that American photographer Lillian Bassman is called a photo artist. Her works are really at the junction of photography and fine arts. Lillian’s most famous works are made in the genre of abstract expressionism.
The artist’s works have forever entered the golden fund of photo-classics, becoming a perfect illustration of fine taste and overt femininity – so defenseless, devoid of vulgarity and very elegant.

She‘ s a self-taught photographer who, according to her own statement, tried to „get rid of gravity in the picture.“ All of Lillian Bassman’s photographs are in a single, very recognisable style. They are slightly blurred black and white images similar to the paintings. This is why critics unanimously attribute the work of a woman photographer to the style of abstract expressionism, so unusual for modern photography. 

Lilian Bassman was born into a family of Russian immigrants in Brooklyn in 1917. As a young woman she married Paul Himmel, who was also a photographer. With him, by the way, Lillian lived happily married for over seventy years. In her youth, Bassman tried different activities – she worked as a model, posing for such famous artists as Joseph Stella and the Sawyer brothers. She was involved in the design of fabrics. Lillian did not even think about photography. So far in 1939, a young girl has not entered the Preta Institute in Brooklyn. It was there that she later met the famous Alexei Brodovich, who at that time was one of the most influential people in the world of design and fashion photography.

“It was sexually a very different thing when [the models] worked with men. They felt a charge… I caught them when they were relaxed, natural, and I spent a lot of time talking to them about their husbands, their lovers, their babies.”

Lillian Bassman

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