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Famous Photographers / A

Attar Abbas
Iran/France
1944 | † 2018
Abbas Attar, better known by his mononym Abbas, was an Iranian photographer known for his photojournalism in Biafra, Vietnam and South Africa in the 1970s, and for his extensive essays on religions in later years. He was a member of Sipa Press from 1971 to 1973, a member of Gamma from 1974 to 1980, and joined Magnum Photos in 1981. Attar, an Iranian transplanted to Paris, dedicated his photographic work to the political and social coverage of the developing southern nations. Since 1970, his major works have been published in world magazines and include wars and revolutions in Biafra, Bangladesh, Ulster, Vietnam, the Middle East, Chile, Cuba, and South Africa with an essay on apartheid. From 1978 to 1980, he photographed the revolution in Iran, and returned in 1997 after a 17-year voluntary exile. His book iranDiary 1971-2002 (2002) is a critical interpretation of its history, photographed and written as a personal diary. From 1983 to 1986, he travelled throughout Mexico, photographing the country as if he were writing a novel. An exhibition and a book, Return to Mexico, journeys beyond the mask (1992), which includes his travel diaries, helped him define his aesthetics in photography. From 1987 to 1994, he photographed the resurgence of Islam from the Xinjiang to Morocco. His book and exhibition Allah O Akbar, a journey through militant Islam (1994) exposes the internal tensions within Muslim societies, torn between a mythical past and a desire for modernization and democracy. The book drew additional attention after the September 11 attacks in 2001. When the year 2000 became a landmark in the universal calendar, Christianity was the symbol of the strength of Western civilization. Faces of Christianity, a photographic journey (2000) and a touring exhibit, explored this religion as a political, a ritual and a spiritual phenomenon. From 2000 to 2002 he worked on Animism. In our world defined by science and technology, the work looked at why irrational rituals make a strong come-back. He abandoned this project on the first anniversary of the September 11 attacks. His book, In Whose Name? The Islamic World after 9/11 (2009), is a seven-year quest within 16 countries : opposed by governments who hunt them mercilessly, the jihadists lose many battles, but are they not winning the war to control the mind of the people, with the "creeping islamisation" of all Muslim societies? From 2008 to 2010 Abbas travelled the world of Buddhism, photographing with the same sceptical eye for his book Les Enfants du lotus, voyage chez les bouddhistes (2011). In 2011, he began a similar long-term project on Hinduism which he concluded in 2013. Before his death, Abbas was working on documenting Judaism around the world. He died in Paris on 25 April 2018, aged 74. About his photography Abbas wrote: "My photography is a reflection, which comes to life in action and leads to meditation. Spontaneity – the suspended moment – intervenes during action, in the viewfinder. A reflection on the subject precedes it. A meditation on finality follows it, and it is here, during this exalting and fragile moment, that the real photographic writing develops, sequencing the images. For this reason a writer's spirit is necessary to this enterprise. Isn't photography "writing with light"? But with the difference that while the writer possesses his word, the photographer is himself possessed by his photo, by the limit of the real which he must transcend so as not to become its prisoner." Source: Wikipedia Born a photographer, Abbas is an Iranian transplanted to Paris. He has dedicated himself to documenting the political and social life of societies in conflict. In his major work since 1970 he has covered wars and revolutions in Biafra, Bangladesh, Northern Ireland, Vietnam, the Middle East, Chile, Cuba, and South Africa during apartheid. From 1978 to 1980, Abbas photographed the revolution in Iran, to which he returned in 1997 after seventeen years of voluntary exile. His book Iran Diary 1971-2002 is a critical interpretation of Iranian history, photographed and written as a private journal. During his years of exile Abbas traveled constantly. Between 1983 and 1986 he journeyed through Mexico, attempting to photograph a country as a novelist might write about it. The resulting exhibition and book, Return to Mexico: Journeys Beyond the Mask, helped define his photographic aesthetic. From 1987 to 1994, he focused on the resurgence of Islam throughout the world. Allah O Akbar: A Journey Through Militant Islam, the subsequent book and exhibition, spanning twenty-nine countries and four continents, attracted special attention after the 9/11 attacks by Islamic jihadists. A later book, Faces of Christianity: A Photographic Journey (2000), and touring show explored Christianity as a political, ritual and spiritual phenomenon. Abbas' concern with religion led him in 2000 to begin a project on animism, in which he sought to discover why non-rational ritual has re-emerged in a world increasingly defined by science and technology. He abandoned this undertaking in 2002, on the first anniversary of 9/11, to start a new long-term project about the clash of religions, defined as culture rather than faith, which he believes are turning into political ideologies and therefore one of the sources of the strategic struggles of the contemporary world. From 2008 to 2010 Abbas travelled the world of Buddhism, photographing with the same sceptical eye. In 2011 he started a similar long term project on Hinduism. A member of Sipa from 1971 to 1973, then of Gamma from 1974 to 1980, Abbas joined Magnum Photos in 1981 and became a member in 1985. Source: Magnum Photos
Berenice Abbott
United States
1898 | † 1991
Abbott was born and raised in Ohio where she endured an erratic family life. In 1918, after two semesters at Ohio State University, she left to join friends associated with the Provincetown Players, in Greenwich Village. There she met Djuna Barnes, Kenneth Burke, Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Little Review editors Margaret Anderson and Jane Heap, and other influential modernists. From 1919-1921, while studying sculpture, Abbott supported herself as an artist's model, posing for photographers Nikolas Muray and Man Ray. She also met Marcel Duchamp, and participated in Dadaist publications. Abbott moved to Paris in 1921, where she continued to study sculpture (and in Berlin), and to support herself by modeling. During 1923-1926, she worked as Man Ray's darkroom assistant (he had also relocated to Paris) and tried portrait photography at his suggestion. Abbott's first solo exhibition, in 1926, launched her career. In 1928 she rescued and began to promote Eugène Atget's photographic work, calling his thirty years of Parisian streetscapes and related studies "realism unadorned. " In 1929 Abbott took a new artistic direction to tackle the scope (if not the scale) of Atget's achievement in New York City. During 1929-38, she photographed urban material culture and the built environment of New York, documenting the old before it was torn down and recording new construction. From 1934-58, she also taught photography at the New School. During 1935-39, Abbott worked as a "supervisor" for the Federal Art Project to create Changing New York (her free-lance work and New School teaching commitment made her ineligible for unemployment relief) . From 1939-60, Abbott photographed scientific subjects, concluding with her notable illustrations for the MIT-originated Physical Sciences Study Committee's revolutionary high school physics course. In 1954, she photographed along the length of US 1; the work never found a publisher. In 1968, Abbott sold the Atget archive to the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and moved permanently to her home in central Maine (bought in 1956 and restored over several decades) . 1970 saw Abbott's first major retrospective exhibition, at the Museum of Modern Art. Her first retrospective portfolio appeared in 1976, and she received the International Center of Photography's Lifetime Achievement Award in 1989. She died at home in Monson, Maine in December 1991.Source: New York Public Library Born in Springfield, Ohio, Berenice Abbott spent the early part of her artistic career studying sculpture in New York, Berlin, and Paris, where she worked as Man Ray's studio assistant. This experience led her to photography, and in 1926 she established herself as an independent photographer whose portraits of well-known artists and writers rivaled those of Man Ray in excellence and renown. Through Man Ray, she met Eugène Atget, whose photographs of the transformation of Paris from the ancien regime through the mid-1920s impressed her with their methodical technique and intuitive inflections of artistry. Upon Atget's death, Abbott purchased his photographic oeuvre, and for more than forty years tirelessly promoted his work. It is largely through her efforts that this great photographer is still known today. In 1929, Abbott returned to the United States, where she embarked on her best-known body of work--a documentation of New York City for which she developed her famous bird's-eye and worm's-eye points-of-view. She worked on the project independently through the early years of the Depression, and in 1935, secured funding from the Federal Art Project (a part of the Works Progress Administration). Her pictures were published as Changing New York (1939), which was both critically and commercially successful; it remains a classic text for historians of photography. One of Abbott's later final projects was an illustration of scientific phenomenon, produced in the 1950s in collaboration with the Physical Sciences Study Committee based at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Although not as well known as her New York work, these pictures are exquisite examples of her acumen for technical experimentation and her natural instinct for combining factual photographic detail with stunning artistic accomplishment. With their clear visual demonstration of abstract scientific principles, the photographs were chosen to illustrate physics textbooks of the 1950s and 1960s.Source: International Center of Photography
Hector Acebes
United States/Spain
1921 | † 2017
Ansel Adams
United States
1902 | † 1984
American photographer and environmentalist known for his black and white photographs of the American West in Sierra Nevada and in Yosemite National Park. Ansel Easton Adams was born in 1902 in an upper-class family. His family migrated from Ireland in the early 1700s. He was the only child of Charles and Olive Adams. His paternal grandfather founded a successful lumber business, which was later run by Ansel’s father. His mother’s family came from Baltimore. His maternal grandfather had a successful Freight-Hauling business, but squandered his wealth in numerous investment ventures. His nose was broken and scared during the San Francisco earthquake of 1906 as an aftershock threw him up against a wall. After the death of his grandfather the family business was hit by the bank crisis of 1907 and by 1912, his family’s standard of living had been dearly impacted. Ansel was a hyperactive child prone to sickness. After being expelled from several schools due to his restlessness, at age 12, his father decided to tutor him at home with the help of professors and Ansel’s aunt.He soon became interested in music and started learning the piano, but all changed when aged 14, his aunt gave him a copy of “In the Heart of the Sierras”. The photographs by Georges Fiske were a revelation and Ansel persuaded his parents to visit Yosemite National Park during the following vacations. Equiped with a Kodak Box Brownie n°1, Ansel Adams first visited Yosemite National Park in 1916. Amazed by the site and the light, he returned to Yosemite National Park the following year with better cameras and a tripod. He will return regularly to Yosemite National Park where he will even meet his future wife, Virginia Best. At age 17, Adams joined the Sierra Club, a wildlife preservation group. He will remain a convinced environmentalist and a member of the Sierra Club his entire life. His work will promote the goals of the Sierra Club and bring environmental issues to light. In 1932, Adams founded the group f/64 with photographer friend Edward Weston, to promote their independent and modernist vision of photography. It is with Fred Archer that Adams will develop the Zone System (1939-40), a technique which allows photographers to define the proper exposure on negatives and adjust the contrasts on the prints. The depth and clarity of Ansel Adam’s photographs illustrate this technique. Initially, despite their size and weight, Ansel Adams used large format cameras as they offered a high resolution and a sharp image. The timeless photographs and the striking visual beauty clearly characterize Ansel Adams’ photographs. In 1952, he was also one of the founders of Aperture magazine. He died in 1984 from a cardio Vascular disease. Shortly after his death in 1984, the Minarets Wilderness in the Inyo National Forest was renamed the Ansel Adams Wilderness. In 1985, a peak in Sierra Nevada, was named Mount Ansel Adams. He was survived by his wife, two children and 5 grand children.
Robert Adams
United States
1937
Robert Adams (born May 8, 1937) is an American photographer who has focused on the changing landscape of the American West. His work first came to prominence in the mid-1970s through the book The New West (1974) and the exhibition New Topographics: Photographs of a Man-Altered Landscape (1975). He was a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellow in photography in 1973 and 1980, and he received the MacArthur Foundation's MacArthur Fellowship in 1994. Robert Adams, son of Lois Hickman Adams and Ross Adams, was born on May 8, 1937 in Orange, New Jersey. In 1940 they moved to Madison, New Jersey where his younger sister Carolyn was born. Then in 1947 he moved to Madison, Wisconsin for five years, where he contracted polio at age 12 in 1949 in his back, left arm, and hand but was able to recover. Moving one last time in 1952 his family goes to Wheat Ridge, Colorado, a suburb of Denver, when his father secured a job in Denver. His family moved to Colorado partly because of the chronic bronchial problems that he suffered from in Madison, New Jersey around age 5 as an attempt to help alleviate those problems. He continued to suffer from asthma and allergy problems. During his childhood, Adams often accompanied his father on walks and hikes through the woods on Sunday afternoons. He also enjoyed playing baseball in open fields and working with his father on carpentry projects. He was an active Boy Scout, and was also active with the Methodist church that his family attended. He and his father made several raft trips through Dinosaur National Monument, and during his adolescent years he worked at boys' camps at Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado. He also took trips on pack horses and went mountain climbing. He and his sister began visiting the Denver Art Museum. Adams also learned to like reading and it soon became an enjoyment for him. In 1955, he hunted for the last time. Adams enrolled in the University of Colorado, Boulder in 1955, and attended it for his freshman year, but decided to transfer the next year to the University of Redlands in California where he received his B.A. in English from Redlands in 1959. He continued his graduate studies at the University of Southern California and he received his Ph.D. in English in 1965. In 1960 while at Redlands, he met and married Kerstin Mornestam, Swedish native, who shared the same interest in the arts and nature. Robert and Kerstin spent their first few summers together in Oregon along the coast, where they took long walks on the beach and spent their evenings reading. In 1962 they moved back to Colorado, and Adams began teaching English at Colorado College in Colorado Springs. In 1963, Adams bought a 35mm reflex camera and began to take pictures mostly of nature and architecture. He soon read complete sets of Camera Work and Aperture at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center. He learned photographic technique from Myron Wood, a professional photographer who lived in Colorado. While finishing his dissertation, he began to photograph in 1964. In 1967, he began to teach only part-time in order to have more time to photograph. He met John Szarkowski, then curator of photography at the Museum of Modern art, on a trip to New York City in 1969. The museum later bought four of his prints. In 1970, he began working as a full-time photographer. © by Robert Adams, courtesy of Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco and Matthew Marks Gallery, New York Source: Wikipedia Robert Adams is an American photographer best known for his images of the American West. Offering solemn meditations on the landscapes of California, Colorado, and Oregon, Adams’s black-and-white photos document the changes wrought by humans upon nature. “By Interstate 70: a dog skeleton, a vacuum cleaner, TV dinners, a doll, a pie, rolls of carpet. Later, next to the South Platte River: algae, broken concrete, jet contrails, the smell of crude oil,” he wrote. “What I hope to document, though not at the expense of surface detail, is the form that underlies this apparent chaos.” Born on May 8, 1937 in Orange, NJ, his family moved around the Midwest throughout his childhood, finally settling in Wheat Ridge, CO in 1952. Adams went on to study English at the University of Redlands and received his PhD in English from the University of Southern California in 1965. It wasn’t until the near completion of his dissertation for USC that Adams began to take photography seriously, learning techniques from professional photographer Myron Wood and reading Aperture magazine. In the 1970s, he was released the book The New West (1974), and a year later was included in the seminal exhibition “New Topographics: Photographs of a Man-Altered Landscape.” Adams has twice been the recipient of the Guggenheim Fellowship and once the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship. Adams lives and works in Astoria, OR. Today, his works can be found in the collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, among others. Source: Artnet
Manuel Álvarez Bravo
Mexico
1902 | † 2002
Manuel Álvarez Bravo, One of the founders of modern photography, is considered the main representative of Latin American photography in the 20th century. His work extends from the late 1920s to the 1990s. Álvarez Bravo was born in downtown Mexico City on February 4, 1902. He left school at the age of twelve in order to begin making a contribution to his family’s finances after his father's death. He worked at a textile factory for a time, and later at the National General Treasury. Both his grandfather (a painter) and his father were amateur photographers. His early discovery of the camera awakened in him an interest that he would continue to cultivate throughout his life. As a self-taught photographer, he would explore many different techniques, as well as graphic art. Influenced by his study of painting at the Academy of San Carlos, he embraced pictorialism at first. Then, with the discovery of cubism and all the possibilities offered by abstraction, he began to explore modern aesthetics. He had his initiation into documentary photography in 1930: when she was deported from Mexico, Tina Modotti left him her job at the magazine Mexican Folkways. He also worked for the muralists Diego Rivera, José Clemente Orozco and David Alfaro Siqueiros. Álvarez Bravo is an emblematic figure from the period following the Mexican Revolution—often called the Mexican Renaissance. It was a time of a creative fertility, owing to the happy—though not always tranquil—marriage between a desire for modernization and the search for an identity with Mexican roots, in which archaeology, history and ethnology played an important role, parallel to the arts. Álvarez Bravo embodied both tendencies in the field of visual arts. Between 1943 and 1959, he worked in the film industry doing still shots, which inspired him to realize some of his own experiments with cinema. While he was alive, he held over 150 individual exhibitions and participated in over 200 collective exhibitions. According to several critics, the work of this "poet of the lens" expresses the essence of Mexico. However, the humanist regard reflected in his work, the aesthetic, literary and musical references it contains, likewise endow with a truly universal dimension. He died on October 19, 2002, at the age of one hundred.Source: www.manuelalvarezbravo.org
Lola Álvarez Bravo
Mexico
1907 | † 1993
Lola Álvarez Bravo (1907 – 1993) was a Mexican photographer. She was a key figure (along with Tina Modotti, Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera and her husband Manuel Álvarez Bravo) in Mexico's post-revolution renaissance. She was born Dolores Martinez de Anda to wealthy parents in the state of Jalisco. She moved to Mexico City as a young child, after her mother left the family under mysterious circumstances. Her father died when she was a young teenager, and she was then sent to live with the family of her half brother, living nearby in Mexico City. It was here that she met the young Manuel Alvarez Bravo, a neighbor. They married in 1925 and moved to Oaxaca where Manuel was an accountant for the federal government. Alvarez Bravo became pregnant but before she gave birth, they returned to Mexico City. Manuel had taken up photography as an adolescent; he taught Alvarez Bravo and they took pictures together in Oaxaca. Manuel also taught her to develop film and make prints in the darkroom. As he became more serious about pursuing a career in photography, she acted as his assistant, although she also harbored a desire to become a photographer in her own right. The Alvarez Bravo's separated in 1934 but she decided to maintain the Alvarez Bravo name. Alvarez Bravo needed to support herself and taught as well as worked in a government archives. She also continued to experiment with photography and in 1936 received her first real commission photographing the colonial choir stalls of a former church. She also worked in commercial photography, including advertising and fashion. She was the director of photography at the National Institute of Fine Arts. She opened an art gallery in 1951 and was the first person to exhibit the work of Frida Kahlo in Mexico City. She also taught photography at the Academia de San Carlos in Mexico City. Inspired by such photographers as Edward Weston and Tina Modotti, Alvarez Bravo established her own independent career. For 50 years, she photographed a wide variety of subjects, making documentary images of daily life in Mexico's villages and city streets and portraits of great leaders from various countries. She also experimented with photomontage.Source: Wikipedia Born Dolores Martínez in Jalisco, Mexico, Lola Alvarez Bravo (1907–1993) was one of Mexico’s most important photographers. Like other women artists linked with famous male counterparts, her work has often been overshadowed by that of her husband, renowned photographer Manuel Alvarez Bravo. They married in Mexico City in 1925 just as Manuel’s photography practice began to develop. Manuel introduced Lola to the camera, the darkroom, and photography techniques, and she assisted him with developing and printing his images. They shared equipment when Lola began taking her own photographs, although Lola recalled Manuel’s impatience when she wanted to use the camera. In 1927 their son Manuel was born and they opened a photography gallery in their Mexico City home. The couple played a vital role in the cultural circle that included artists Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, Rufino Tamayo, Maria Izquierdo, and David Alfaro Siquerios. Lola continued to take photographs but her work always came second to Manuel’s development as an artist. They separated in 1934 and Lola turned to photography to support herself and her seven-year-old son. Stubbornly independent, her camera became both her livelihood and her means of portraying what she explained as “the life I found before me.” She traveled throughout Mexico photographing people in everyday circumstances with honesty and respect. Her assured formal aesthetic, which often bordered on the abstract, included strong compositional elements, crisp details, and the play of light and shadow on surfaces. Most often Alvarez Bravo eschewed posing subjects or staging situations. Instead, she moved amongst the people along cluttered streets, observing them at work, in the marketplace, and at leisure, waiting for opportunities to capture informal moments in carefully composed scenes. Her keen eye produced stirring and expressive images of Mexican life with a contemporary sensibility that places her among the renowned photographic interpreters of that country in the modern period: Edward Weston, Paul Strand, Tina Modotti, and Manual Alvarez Bravo. During her long career, Lola Alvarez Bravo worked as a photojournalist, commercial photographer, professional portraitist, political artist, teacher, and gallery curator. Despite her professional success, it is her personal photography that marks her most significant contribution to the history of the medium. While working professionally she culled a small, core group of photographs she would refer to as her personal work, “mis fotos, mi arte.” The photographs in the Center’s collection are among those she most valued and are in the spirit of that distinction. Her direct, uncompromising, and impassioned studies of the Mexican people offer an important chapter to the history of photography, both as creative force and indelible subject matter. The Center acquired the Lola Alvarez Bravo Archive in 1996. It includes her negatives and nearly 200 gelatin silver photographs, 100 of which were selected by Lola Alvarez Bravo in 1993. An additional 100 photographs were selected by the Center in consultation with the artist. © Artists Rights Society (ARS)Source: Center for Creative Photography
Nobuyoshi Araki
Nobuyoshi Araki is a Japanese photographer and contemporary artist. He is also known by the nickname Arākī. Araki was born in Tokyo, studied photography during his college years and then went to work at the advertising agency Dentsu, where he met his future wife, the essayist Yōko Araki. After they were married, Araki published a book of pictures of his wife taken during their honeymoon titled Sentimental Journey. She died in 1990. Pictures taken during her last days were published in a book titled Winter Journey. Having published over 350 books by 2005, and still more every year, Araki is considered one of the most prolific artists alive or dead in Japan and around the world. Many of his photographs are erotic; some have been called pornographic. Among his photography books are Sentimental Journey (1971, but later reissued), Tokyo Lucky Hole (1985), and Shino. He also contributed photography to the Sunrise anime series Brain Powerd. In 1981, Araki directed High School Girl Fake Diary a Roman Porno film for Nikkatsu studio. The film proved to be a disappointment both to Araki's fans, and to fans of the pink film genre. The Icelandic musician Björk is an admirer of Araki's work, and served as one of his models. At her request he photographed the cover and inner sleeve pages of her 1997 remix album, Telegram. More recently, he has photographed pop singer Lady Gaga. Araki's life and work were the subject of Travis Klose's 2005 documentary film Arakimentari. His works are held in numerous museum collections including the Tate and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Source: Wikipedia Nobuyoshi Araki is a prolific photographer who has produced thousands of photographs over the course of his career. He became famous for “Un Voyage Sentimental” (1971), a series of photos depicting both banal and deeply intimate scenes of his wife during their honeymoon. A number of his works feature young women in sexualized situations: “Kinbaku”, a series from 1979, features 101 photographs of women in rope bondage. He typically works in black-and-white photography, and his hallmark style is deliberately casual. “Rather than shooting something that looks like a professional photograph, I want my work to feel intimate, like someone in the subject’s inner circle shot them,” he says. More recently, Araki has been working on a series titled “Faces of Japan” (2009-) in which the artist photographs 500 to 1,000 people in each of Japan’s prefectures. Source: Artsy Nobuyoshi Araki is a contemporary Japanese photographer known both for his prolific output and his erotic imagery. While sometimes focusing on quotidian subject matter, including flowers or street scenes, it is Araki’s sexual imagery that has elicited controversy and fascination. Similar to the work of Helmut Newton, Araki often addresses subversive themes—such as Japanese bondage kinbaku—in his provocative depictions of female nudes. “Women? Well, they are gods. They will always fascinate me. As for rope, I always have it with me. Even when I forget my film, the rope is always in my bag,” he said of his subject matter. “Since I can't tie their hearts up, I tie their bodies up instead.” Born on May 25, 1940 in Tokyo, Japan, he studied photography at Chiba University, before pursuing a career as a commercial photographer upon his graduation in 1963. In 1970, while working as a freelance photographer, he began to publish numerous photography books, including Sentimental Journey (1971), a visual narrative of the honeymoon with his wife Aoki Yoko. Araki currently resides in Tokyo, Japan, a city that has served as a constant source of inspiration throughout his career. Today, his works are held in the collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, the Goetz Collection in Munich, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, among others. Source: Artnet
Diane Arbus
United States
1923 | † 1971
Diane Arbus (March 14, 1923 – July 26, 1971) was an American photographer and writer noted for black-and-white square photographs of "deviant and marginal people (dwarfs, giants, transgender people, nudists, circus performers) or of people whose normality seems ugly or surreal.". Arbus believed that a camera could be “a little bit cold, a little bit harsh” but its scrutiny revealed the truth; the difference between what people wanted others to see and what they really did see – the flaws. A friend said that Arbus said that she was "afraid... that she would be known simply as 'the photographer of freaks'"; however, that phrase has been used repeatedly to describe her. In 1972, a year after she committed suicide, Arbus became the first American photographer to have photographs displayed at the Venice Biennale. Millions of people viewed traveling exhibitions of her work in 1972–1979. Between 2003 and 2006, Arbus and her work were the subjects of another major traveling exhibition, Diane Arbus Revelations. In 2006, the motion picture Fur, starring Nicole Kidman as Arbus, presented a fictional version of her life story. Although some of Arbus's photographs have sold for hundreds of thousands of dollars at auction, Arbus's work has provoked controversy; for example, Norman Mailer was quoted in 1971 as saying "Giving a camera to Diane Arbus is like putting a live grenade in the hands of a child." Others have, however, pointed out that Mailer was dissatisfied with a picture of him holding his crotch taken by Arbus for the New York Times Book Review. Arbus was born as Diane Nemerov to David Nemerov and Gertrude Russek Nemerov. The Nemerovs were a Jewish couple who lived in New York City and owned Russek's, a famous Fifth Avenue department store. Because of her family's wealth, Arbus was insulated from the effects of the Great Depression while growing up in the 1930s. Arbus's father became a painter after retiring from Russek's; her younger sister would become a sculptor and designer; and her older brother, Howard Nemerov, would later become United States Poet Laureate, and the father of the Americanist art historian Alexander Nemerov. Diane Nemerov attended the Fieldston School for Ethical Culture, a prep school. In 1941, at the age of eighteen, she married her childhood sweetheart Allan Arbus. Their first daughter Doon (who would later become a writer), was born in 1945 and their second daughter Amy (who would later become a photographer), was born in 1954. Diane and Allan Arbus separated in 1958, and they were divorced in 1969. The Arbuses' interests in photography led them, in 1941, to visit the gallery of Alfred Stieglitz, and learn about the photographers Mathew Brady, Timothy O'Sullivan, Paul Strand, Bill Brandt, and Eugène Atget. In the early 1940s, Diane's father employed them to take photographs for the department store's advertisements. Allan was a photographer for the U.S. Army Signal Corps in World War Two. In 1946, after the war, the Arbuses began a commercial photography business called "Diane & Allan Arbus," with Diane as art director and Allan as the photographer. They contributed to Glamour, Seventeen, Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, and other magazines even though "they both hated the fashion world." Despite over 200 pages of their fashion editorial in Glamour, and over 80 pages in Vogue, the Arbuses' fashion photography has been described as of "middling quality." Edward Steichen's noted 1955 photographic exhibit, The Family of Man, did include a photograph by the Arbuses of a father and son reading a newspaper. In 1956, Diane Arbus quit the commercial photography business. Although earlier she had studied photography with Berenice Abbott, her studies with Lisette Model, beginning in 1956, led to Arbus's most well-known methods and style. She began photographing on assignment for magazines such as Esquire, Harper's Bazaar, and The Sunday Times Magazine in 1959. Around 1962, Arbus switched from a 35 mm Nikon camera which produced grainy rectangular images to a twin-lens reflex Rolleiflex camera which produced more detailed square images. In 1963, Arbus was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship for a project on "American rites, manners, and customs"; the fellowship was renewed in 1966. In 1964, Arbus began using a twin-lens reflex Mamiya camera with flash in addition to the Rolleiflex. Her methods included establishing a strong personal relationship with her subjects and re-photographing some of them over many years. During the 1960s, she taught photography at the Parsons School of Design and the Cooper Union in New York City, and the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence, Rhode Island. The first major exhibition of her photographs occurred at the Museum of Modern Art in a 1967 show called "New Documents," curated by John Szarkowski. The show also featured the work of Garry Winogrand and Lee Friedlander. Some of her artistic work was done on assignment. Although she continued to photograph on assignment (e.g., in 1968 she shot documentary photographs of poor sharecroppers in rural South Carolina for Esquire magazine), in general her magazine assignments decreased as her fame as an artist increased. Szarkowski hired Arbus in 1970 to research an exhibition on photojournalism called "From the Picture Press"; it included many photographs by Weegee whose work Arbus admired. Using softer light than in her previous photography, she took a series of photographs in her later years of people with intellectual disability showing a range of emotions. At first, Arbus considered these photographs to be "lyric and tender and pretty," but by June, 1971, she told Lisette Model that she hated them. Associating with other contemporary photographers such as Robert Frank and Saul Leiter, Arbus helped form what Jane Livingston has termed The New York School of photographers during the 1940s and 1950s. Among other photographers and artists she befriended during her career, she was close to photographer Richard Avedon; he was approximately the same age, his family had also run a Fifth Avenue department store, and many of his photographs were also characterized as detailed frontal poses. Another good friend was Marvin Israel, an artist, graphic designer, and art director whom Arbus met in 1959. Arbus experienced "depressive episodes" during her life similar to those experienced by her mother, and the episodes may have been made worse by symptoms of hepatitis. Arbus wrote in 1968, "I go up and down a lot," and her ex-husband noted that she had "violent changes of mood." On July 26, 1971, while living at Westbeth Artists Community in New York City, Arbus took her own life by ingesting barbiturates and slashing her wrists with a razor. Marvin Israel found her body in the bathtub two days later; she was 48 years old. Source: Wikipedia © Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division
Eve Arnold
United States
1912 | † 2012
Eve Arnold was born Eve Cohen in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the middle of nine children born to immigrant Russian-Jewish parents, William Cohen (born Velvel Sklarski), a rabbi, and his wife, Bessie (Bosya Laschiner). Her interest in photography began in 1946 while working for Kodak in their Fair Lawn NJ photo-finishing plant. Over six weeks in 1948, she learned photographic skills from Harper's Bazaar art director Alexey Brodovitch at the New School for Social Research in Manhattan. She married Arnold Schmitz (later Arnold Arnold) in 1941. Eve Arnold photographed many of the iconic figures who shaped the second half of the twentieth century, yet she was equally comfortable documenting the lives of the poor and dispossessed, "migrant workers, civil-rights protestors of apartheid in South Africa, disabled Vietnam war veterans and Mongolian herdsmen." Her joyful picture of a Cuban couple with their child was selected in 1955 for the world-touring Museum of Modern Art exhibition The Family of Man and seen by 9 million visitors. For Arnold, there was no dichotomy: "I don't see anybody as either ordinary or extraordinary," she said in a 1990 BBC interview, "I see them simply as people in front of my lens." Arnold was particularly noted for her work using available light, concentrating on the image in the lens and eschewing extensive use of photographic lighting and flash. Of this she said "By the time you set up lights the image is gone" in a Guardian interview in 2000. Arnold's images of Marilyn Monroe on the set of The Misfits (1961) were perhaps her most memorable, but she had taken many photos of Monroe from 1951 onwards. Her previously unseen photos of Monroe were shown at a Halcyon Gallery exhibition in London during May 2005. She also photographed Queen Elizabeth II, Malcolm X, Marlene Dietrich, and Joan Crawford, and traveled around the world, photographing in China, Russia, South Africa and Afghanistan. Arnold left the United States and moved permanently to England in the early 1970s with her son, Francis Arnold. While working for the London Sunday Times, she began to make serious use of color photography. In 1980, she had her first solo exhibition, which featured her photographic work done in China at the Brooklyn Museum in New York City. In the same year, she received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Society of Magazine Photographers. In 1993, she was made an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society, and elected Master Photographer by New York's International Center of Photography. She did a series of portraits of American First Ladies. In 1997, she was appointed a member of the Advisory Committee of the National Media Museum (formerly the Museum of Photography, Film & Television) in Bradford, West Yorkshire. She was appointed an Honorary Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 2003. She lived in Mayfair for many years until her last illness, when she moved to a nursing home in St George's Square, Pimlico. When Anjelica Huston asked if she was still doing photography, Arnold replied: "That's over. I can't hold a camera any more." She said she spent most of her time reading such writers as Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Thomas Mann and Leo Tolstoy. Arnold died in London on January 4, 2012, aged 99. Source: Wikipedia Eve Arnold was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to Russian immigrant parents. She began photographing in 1946, while working at a photo-finishing plant in New York City, and then studied photography in 1948 with Alexei Brodovitch at the New School for Social Research in New York. Arnold first became associated with Magnum Photos in 1951, and became a full member in 1957. She was based in the US during the 1950s but went to England in 1962 to put her son through school; except for a six-year interval when she worked in the US and China, she lived in the UK for the rest of her life. Her time in China led to her first major solo exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum in 1980, where she showed the resulting images. In the same year, she received the National Book Award for In China and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Society of Magazine Photographers. In later years she received many other honours and awards. In 1995 she was made fellow of the Royal Photographic Society and elected Master Photographer - the world's most prestigious photographic honour - by New York's International Center of Photography. In 1996 she received the Kraszna-Krausz Book Award for In Retrospect, and the following year she was granted honorary degrees by the University of St Andrews, Staffordshire University, and the American International University in London; she was also appointed to the advisory committee of the National Museum of Photography, Film & Television in Bradford, UK. She has had twelve books published. Eve passed away in January of 2012. Source: Magnum Photos
Yann Arthus-Bertrand
Yann Arthus-Bertrand, born in 1946, has always had a passion for the animal world and the natural environment. At the age of 20, he settled in central France and became the director of a nature reserve. When he was 30, he travelled to Kenya with his wife with whom he carried out a three-year study on the behaviour of a family of lions in the Massaï Mara reserve. He quickly started using a camera as a visual aid to capture his observations and enhance the written reports they compiled. While in Africa, he earned his living as a hot-air balloon pilot. This was when he really discovered the earth from above and the advantages of viewing what he was studying from afar to gain an overall picture of an area and its resources. He discovered his calling: to demonstrate the Earth’s beauty and show the impact of mankind on the Planet. His first book, Lions, was born of this adventure – he likes to call these lions his "first photography teachers." Little by little, Yann became a reporter focusing on environmental issues, and collaborating with Géo, National Geographic, Life, Paris Match, Figaro Magazine etc. He then started a personal work on the relationship mankind/ animal, which led to the books Good breeding and Horses. In 1991, he founded the first aerial photography agency in the world. For the First Rio Conference in 1992, Yann decided to prepare a big work for the year 2000 on the state of the planet: it is The Earth From the Air. This book encountered a great success and over 3 million copies were sold. The outdoor exhibitions have been seen so far by about 200 Million people. Yann then created the Goodplanet Foundation that aims to raise public awareness of environmental issues, implement carbon offset programmes and fight deforestation with local NGOs. Within the Foundation, he developed the 6 billion Others project, that has just changed names and become 7 billion Others. More than 6000 interviews were filmed in 84 countries. From a Brazilian fisherman to a Chinese shopkeeper, from a German performer to an Afghan farmer, all answered the same questions about their fears, dreams, ordeals, hopes: "What have you learned from your parents? What do you want to pass on to your children? What difficult circumstances have you been through? What does love mean to you?" Forty or so questions that help us to find out what separates and what unites us. Due to this involvement, Yann Arthus-Bertrand is today considered more an environmentalist and activist than a photographer. It is because of this commitment that Yann Arthus-Bertrand was designated Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Environment Programme on Earth Day (April 22nd, 2009). In 2006, Yann started the series Vu Du Ciel, a television documentary series of several one-and-a-half hour episodes, each dealing with a particular environmental problem. It was shown on French public television and is currently being distributed for broadcast in 49 countries. Encouraged by his television experiment, Yann Arthus-Bertrand undertook the production of a full-length feature film, HOME, that deals with the state of our planet. The film was released on the 5th of June 2009 on television, on the Internet, on DVD and in cinemas simultaneously worldwide, almost entirely free of charge to the public. More than 600 million people have seen it so far.In 2011, Yann directed two films for the United Nations : the film Forest, official film of the 2011 International Year of the Forest, and the film Desertification. Both were screened during UN General Assemblies. Yann founded a non-profit production company, "Hope". For the World Water Forum in March 2012, Yann, Thierry Piantanida and Baptiste Rouget-Luchaire directed a film narrating the history of water and reminding us that reasoned management of water is a crucial challenge for our century. This documentary was broadcast on French national television on the 20 th of March 2012. For Rio + 20, Yann directed the film "Planet Ocean" with Michael Pitiot. This film aims to promote understanding of the importance of oceans in the ecosystem. In the same time, the GoodPlanet Foundation initiated a “Ocean Programme”, to raise awareness of the importance of marine ecosystems. At the heart of this programme, the publication of the book “L’Homme et la Mer” by the Editions de la Martinière, available in bookstores from the 18 th of October 2012.All the films produced by HOPE are available free of charge to NGOs, nonprofits and schools in the frame work of environmental education. Source: www.yannarthusbertrand.org
Eugène Atget
France
1857 | † 1927
Jean-Eugène-Auguste Atget was born 12 February 1857 in Libourne. His father, carriage builder Jean-Eugène Atget, died in 1862, and his mother, Clara-Adeline Atget née Hourlier died shortly after. He was brought up by his maternal grandparents in Bordeaux and after finishing secondary education joined the merchant navy. Atget moved to Paris in 1878. He failed the entrance exam for acting class but was admitted when he had a second try. Because he was drafted for military service he could attend class only part-time, and he was expelled from drama school. Still living in Paris he became an actor with a travelling group, performing in the Paris suburbs and the provinces. He met actress Valentine Delafosse Compagnon, who became his companion until her death. He gave up acting because of an infection of his vocal chords in 1887, moved to the provinces and took up painting without success. His first photographs, of Amiens and Beauvais, date from 1888. 1890 Atget moved back to Paris and became a professional photographer, supplying documents for artists: studies for painters, architects and stage-designers. Starting 1898 institutions such as the Musée Carnavalet and the Bibliothèque historique de la ville de Paris bought his photographs. The latter commissioned him ca. 1906 to systematically photograph old buildings in Paris. 1899 he moved to Montparnasse. While being a photographer Atget still also called himself an actor, giving lectures and readings. During World War I Eugène Atget temporarily stored his archives in his basement for safekeeping and almost completely gave up photography. Valentine's son Léon was killed at the front. 1920-1921 he sold thousands of his negatives to institutions. Financially independent he took up photographing the parks of Versailles, Saint-Cloud and Sceaux and produced a series of photographs of prostitutes. Berenice Abbott visited Atget in 1925, bought some of his photographs, and tried to interest other artists in his work. 1926 Valentine died and Man Ray published several of Atget's photographs in la Révolution surréaliste. Abbott took Atget's portrait in 1927. Eugène Atget died 4 August 1927 in Paris.Source: Wikipedia Eugène Atget (1857–1927) turned to photography in his late 40s, building a body of work that described the city of Paris and its environs. In its simplicity and clarity of vision, this project, resulting in over 10,000 photographs, became a modern urban portrait that has influenced many photographers since. Inspired to make a portrait of Paris at the moment when historic Paris was becoming Haussman’s modern Paris, Atget captured the changing city with eloquence and sensitivity. Atget received little recognition before his death in 1927, but due to the posthumous efforts of photographer Berenice Abbott, his work was preserved, promoted, and gained its rightful place in history. A significant number of his prints, including many negatives, are held by the Museum of Modern Art, New York City, the National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C., along with the Bibliothèque Nationale de France.Source: Fraenkel Gallery Photos © Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division
Ellen Auerbach
Germany
1906 | † 2004
Ellen Auerbach (1906-2004) was born Ellen Rosenburg in Karlsruhe, Germany. After sculpture courses in Karlsruhe and Stuttgart, she studied photography with Walter Peterhans at the Bauhaus school in Berlin. In 1929, she founded ringl+pit, an advertising and portrait studio, with her friend Grete Stern. The unusual title was derived from the nicknames they used as children. When Hitler rose to power, Auerbach emigrated wth her future husband to Tel Aviv. There she opened a children's portrait studio named Ishon. Following the outbreak of the Abyssinian War, Auerbach moved to London, where she was reunited with Grete Stern. Together they worked on a series of portraits of Bertolt Brecht. By 1937, Ellen and Walter Auerbach had married and moved to the United States, eventually settling in New York City. Ellen began to experiment with new photographic techniques, worked for Time and Columbia Masterworks on a freelance basis, and taught photography at a junior college. In 1955 Auerbach traveled to Mexico with Eliot Porter and the two produced a powerful body of work documenting Mexican churches. The series, printed primarily in color, explores the religious traditions and ceremonial icons of a fading era in Mexican religious history. Auerbach continued to travel and photograph extensively. At the age of sixty, she began a second career as a child therapist. Ellen Auerbach's travels provided her with a kaleidoscope of people and places through which to develop her personal visual language. She believed that photography allows for the use of a metaphorical "third eye" which allows the artist to capture not only what exists on the surface of an image, but also to capture the essence of the subject that lies beneath that surface. Source: Robert Mann Gallery
Richard Avedon
United States
1923 | † 2004
Richard Avedon (1923-2004) was born and lived in New York City. His interest in photography began at an early age, and he joined the Young Men's Hebrew Association (YMHA) camera club when he was twelve years old. He attended DeWitt Clinton High School in the Bronx, where he co-edited the school's literary magazine, The Magpie, with James Baldwin. He was named Poet Laureate of New York City High Schools in 1941. Avedon joined the armed forces in 1942 during World War II, serving as Photographer's Mate Second Class in the U.S. Merchant Marine. As he described it, "My job was to do identity photographs. I must have taken pictures of one hundred thousand faces before it occurred to me I was becoming a photographer." After two years of service, he left the Merchant Marine to work as a professional photographer, initially creating fashion images and studying with art director Alexey Brodovitch at the Design Laboratory of the New School for Social Research. At the age of twenty-two, Avedon began working as a freelance photographer, primarily for Harper's Bazaar. Initially denied the use of a studio by the magazine, he photographed models and fashions on the streets, in nightclubs, at the circus, on the beach and at other uncommon locations, employing the endless resourcefulness and inventiveness that became a hallmark of his art. Under Brodovitch's tutelage, he quickly became the lead photographer for Harper's Bazaar. From the beginning of his career, Avedon made formal portraits for publication in Theatre Arts, Life, Look, and Harper's Bazaar magazines, among many others. He was fascinated by photography's capacity for suggesting the personality and evoking the life of his subjects. He registered poses, attitudes, hairstyles, clothing and accessories as vital, revelatory elements of an image. He had complete confidence in the two-dimensional nature of photography, the rules of which he bent to his stylistic and narrative purposes. As he wryly said, "My photographs don't go below the surface. I have great faith in surfaces. A good one is full of clues." After guest-editing the April 1965 issue of Harper's Bazaar, Avedon quit the magazine after facing a storm of criticism over his collaboration with models of color. He joined Vogue, where he worked for more than twenty years. In 1992, Avedon became the first staff photographer at The New Yorker, where his portraiture helped redefine the aesthetic of the magazine. During this period, his fashion photography appeared almost exclusively in the French magazine Égoïste. Throughout, Avedon ran a successful commercial studio, and is widely credited with erasing the line between "art" and "commercial" photography. His brand-defining work and long associations with Calvin Klein, Revlon, Versace, and dozens of other companies resulted in some of the best-known advertising campaigns in American history. These campaigns gave Avedon the freedom to pursue major projects in which he explored his cultural, political, and personal passions. He is known for his extended portraiture of the American Civil Rights movement, the Vietnam war and a celebrated cycle of photographs of his father, Jacob Israel Avedon. In 1976, for Rolling Stone magazine, he produced "The Family," a collective portrait of the American power elite at the time of the country's bicentennial election. From 1979 to 1985, he worked extensively on a commission from the Amon Carter Museum of American Art, ultimately producing the show and book In the American West. Avedon's first museum retrospective was held at the Smithsonian Institution in 1962. Many major museum shows followed, including two at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (1978 and 2002), the Minneapolis Institute of Arts (1970), the Amon Carter Museum of American Art (1985), and the Whitney Museum of American Art (1994). His first book of photographs, Observations, with an essay by Truman Capote, was published in 1959. He continued to publish books of his works throughout his life, including Nothing Personal in 1964 (with an essay by James Baldwin), Portraits 1947-1977 (1978, with an essay by Harold Rosenberg), An Autobiography (1993), Evidence 1944-1994 (1994, with essays by Jane Livingston and Adam Gopnik), and The Sixties (1999, with interviews by Doon Arbus). After suffering a cerebral hemorrhage while on assignment for The New Yorker, Richard Avedon died in San Antonio, Texas on October 1, 2004. He established The Richard Avedon Foundation during his lifetime. Source: The Richard Avedon Foundation
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