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Annick Donkers
Annick Donkers
Annick Donkers

Annick Donkers

Country: Belgium

Annick Donkers is a documentary photographer from Antwerp, Belgium. After obtaining a Master’s degree in Psychology, she decided to specialize in photography. She has received a grant from the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs and was selected to participate in the Seminar on Contemporary Photography at the Centro de la Imagen in Mexico City (2008). Her work has been exhibited and published internationally. She was one of the winners at the Survival International Competition (2015), won an award at the San José Photo Festival in Uruguay (2016), the Sony Awards in UK (2016), the MIFA awards in Russia (2016), the IPA awards in USA (2016), the TIFA awards in Tokyo (2016), received an honorable mention at the Px3 Prix de la Photo in Paris(2016), was selected at Latin American Photography vol.5 (2016), on the cover of Dodho magazine (2016), shortlisted for the Kolga Tbilisi Awards and Athens Photo Festival (2017). She currently lives and works as a freelance photographer in Mexico City.

About Lucha Libre Extrema
The Lucha Libre Extrema series emerged from a growing interest I had in Mexican professional wrestling. I was soon drawn towards sub-genres of the sport such as Lucha Libre Exótica and Lucha Extrema. This semi-clandestine hardcore genre is currently prohibited in Mexico City because of how dangerous it is, but events still take place outside the capital, notably at a car wash-turned-arena in Tulancingo, the village where El Santo, Mexico’s most famous pro wrestler, was born. The participants receive professional training and are paid a little bit more because of the risks they take. They perform with a variety of weapons: chairs, thumbtacks, wire, and fluorescent lights, turning the ring into a war zone. Yet the community of luchadores “extremos” is closely knit and few outsiders have gained access. Mexico has been a very violent place in recent years. As such, I found it fascinating that people were drawn to the dangerous world of Lucha Libre Extrema and turned my camera to the audience in an attempt to understand their reasons.

About Afromexican Healers
At the end of last year my attention was drawn to the coastal region of Guerrero known as Costa Chica, located to the south of Acapulco. This region is home to Mexicans descended from African slaves that identify themselves as being “black”. But outside this region they are little-known and they are currently fighting to be officially recognized by the Mexican State. The Costa Chica is also a place rooted in traditional beliefs that include appearances of trolls, the devil and spirit animals. The legend tells that when a baby is born, a member of the family brings the child to a crossroads up in the mountains where lots of wild animals pass by. The first creature to approach the child will be the child's spirit animal, or tono in Spanish, since there is now a dependency created between child and animal. This means that when the animal is hurt, wounded or dies, the person is too. In the Afromexican communities there are healers that will cure these "animal"-related illnesses, since conventional medicine will not work in these cases. The person is cured with herbs selected by the healers and also according to the needs of the animal. They call these healers curanderos del tono and there are only a small number of them left. I went to the Costa Chica region in an attempt to capture what remains of this Afromexican tradition.
 

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Nicola Perscheid
Germany
1864 | † 1930
Nicola Perscheid (3 December 1864 - 12 May 1930) was a German photographer. He is primarily known for his artistic portrait photography. He developed the "Perscheid lens", a soft focus lens for large format portrait photography. Perscheid was born as Nikolaus Perscheid in Moselweiβ [de] near Koblenz, Germany, where he also went to school. At the age of 15, he began an apprenticeship as a photographer. Subsequently, Perscheid earned his living as an itinerant photographer; he worked, amongst other places, in Saarbrücken, Trier, and Colmar, but also in Nice, Vienna, or Budapest. In Klagenfurt in Austria he finally found a permanent position and on 1 March 1887, he became a member of the Photographic Society of Vienna (Wiener Photographische Gesellschaft). In 1889, he moved to Dresden, where he initially worked in the studio of Wilhelm Höffert (1832-1901), a well-known studio in Germany at that time, before opening his own studio in Görlitz on 6 June 1891. The next year he was appointed court photographer at the court of Albert, King of Saxony. In 1894, Perscheid moved to Leipzig. Perscheid had his first publication of an image of his in a renowned photography magazine in 1897, and subsequently participated in many exhibitions and also had contacts with artist Max Klinger. As an established and well-known photographer, he moved in 1905 to Berlin. There, he experimented with early techniques for colour photography, without much success, and when his assistant Arthur Benda [de] left him in 1907, Perscheid gave up these experiments altogether. His portraits, however, won him several important prizes, but apparently were not an economic success: he sold his studio on 24 June 1912. In October 1913, he held a course at the Swedish society of professional photographers, the Svenska Fotografernas Förbund, which must have been a success as it was praised even ten years later. In 1923, he followed a call by the Danish college for photography in Kopenhagen. Percheid had several students who would later become renowned photographers themselves. Arthur Benda studied with him from 1899 to 1902, and joined him again in 1906 as his assistant for experimenting with colour photography. Benda left Perscheid in 1907; together with Dora Kallmus he went to Vienna and worked in her studio Atelier d'Ora, which he eventually took over and that continued to exist under the name d'Ora-Benda until 1965. Kallmus herself also had studied from January to May 1907 at Perscheid's. Henry B. Goodwin, who later emigrated to Sweden and in 1913 organized Perscheid's course there, studied with Perscheid in 1903. In 1924 the Swedish photographer Curt Götlin (1900-1993) studied at Perscheid's studio. Perscheid also influenced the Japanese photographer Toragorō Ariga, who studied in Berlin from 1908 to 1914 and also followed Perscheid's courses. He returned in 1915 to Japan. The Perscheid lens was developed around 1920. It is a soft-focus lens with a wide depth of field, produced by Emil Busch AG after the specifications of Perscheid. The lens is designed especially for large format portrait photography. Ariga introduced the Perscheid lens in Japan, where it became very popular amongst Japanese portrait photographers of the 1920s. Even after the sale of his studio, Perscheid continued to work as a photographer and even rented other studio rooms in 1917. Besides artistic photography, he also always did "profane" studio portraits, for instance for the Postkartenvertrieb Willi Sanke in Berlin that between 1910 and 1918 published a series of about 600 to 700 numbered aviation postcards, including a large number of portraits of flying aces, a number of which were done by Perscheid. Towards the end of the 1920s, Perscheid had severe financial problems. In autumn 1929 he had to sub-rent his apartment to be able to pay his own rent. Shortly afterwards, he suffered a stroke, and was hospitalized in spring of 1930. While he was at the hospital, his belongings, including his cameras and photographic plates, but also all his furniture were auctioned off to pay his debts. Two weeks after the auction, on 12 May 1930, Perscheid died at the Charité hospital in Berlin. Source: Wikipedia
Carlo Naya
Italy
1816 | † 1882
Carlo Naya was an Italian photographer known for his pictures of Venice including its works of art and views of the city for a collaborative volume in 1866. He also documented the restoration of Giotto's frescoes at the Scrovegni Chapel in Padua. Naya was born in Tronzano di Vercelli in 1816 and studied law at the University of Pisa. An inheritance allowed him to travel to major cities in Europe, Asia, and northern Africa. He was advertising his services as portrait photographer in Istanbul in 1845, and opened his studio in Venice in 1857. He sold his work through photographer and optician Carlo Ponti. Following Naya's death in 1882, his studio was run by his wife, then by her second husband. In 1918 it was closed and publisher Osvaldo Böhm bought most of Naya's archive.Source: Wikipedia Carlo Naya studied law in Pisa before becoming a diplomat according to his father’s wishes. After his father’s death Naya embarked on a tour through Europe and Asia with his brother. During his stay in Paris in 1839 he was taught the daguerreotype process, which fascinated him. Naya settled in Venice in 1857, where he set up a photographic studio. For several years he collaborated closely with photographer Carlo Ponti but in 1868 he founded his own studio. During his long career, Naya photographed every aspect of the city of Venice. His views of the palaces on the Grand Canal, and his panoramas of the city give a complete picture of Venice’s architecture in the mid-nineteenth century.Source: The National Galleries of Scotland Carlo Naya (1816-1882) was born Carlo Naja at Tronzano Vercellese near Turin. He studied law in Pisa, where he graduated in 1840. Until recently it was thought that for the next fifteen years, he and his brother Giovanni travelled widely throughout Europe, Asia and Africa, only photographing occasionally for pleasure. However, recent research has revealed that Carlo Naya worked as a professional daguerreotypist long before his move to Venice. He apparently operated briefly in Prague around 1845, before opening a daguerreotype studio in Constantinople the following year. When his brother died in 1857, Carlo returned to Italy and settled in Venice. Initially he worked with the established publisher Carlo Ponti, who distributed his prints. The two men soon quarrelled, however, and Naya opened his own studio. In 1868 he opened a larger photographic shop in the Piazza San Marco, his business soon growing to rival Ponti‘s. In the latter half of the nineteenth century, the two firms were considered the leading photographic concerns in the city. At the time of Naya‘s death in 1882, Edward Wilson, an experienced and knowledgeable writer on photography, described Naya‘s studio as ‘the largest establishment we think we ever saw devoted to photography, in an old palace on the other side of the grand canal‘. Ponti and Naya were both photographic chroniclers of the city‘s tourist sights. Greater ease of travel meant that tourists came in ever increasing numbers to see the splendours of Italy, and these visitors were eager to take away with them souvenirs to show their friends and family at home and to help them remember what they had seen. Thus a photographer with a large stock of negatives showing the buildings and monuments, canals and palaces, harbour views and gondolas of Venice was assured of a steady, reliable income for years to come.Source: Luminous-Lint
Isabeau De Rouffignac
I followed an artistic career path with a drawing baccalaureate, 2 years of preparatory classes at the Met de Penninghen studio, then I entered the graphic art school. This was followed by a long experience in design agencies (Design Strategy Orchestra), communication agencies (CPP) and manufacturing agencies (Vision Prod) as an employee and then as a freelancer since 1999. It is this status that will allow me to devote myself to photography, which I discovered in the 2000s. It was a revelation, and soon became obvious. Since then, I have been photographing worlds far and near, between a documentary approach and a resolutely artistic approach. A line of conduct, like a thread that runs through my work and gives it coherence: approaching the other, taming them, taking the time, learning their language, being forgotten, with a gaze that is always curious and fundamentally empathetic. Four photographic editions were born from this work. Since 2017, I devote all my time to photography. And although I have an initial training that integrates the work of the image and a long-standing photographic practice, I felt the need to go further, to question my writing, and I have therefore attended several workshops and training courses. (Arles, Cifap, Gobelins) In 2018, I became a member of Studio Hans Lucas Today, the more I advance in my artistic practice, the more I approach my projects from a documentary point of view, but with an aesthetic or even plastic approach from the start. By mixing these different ways of working on my subject, I leave the imposed categories (documentary, plastic photography, etc.) to invent my own language that allows me to convey a message (environmental, social, humanitarian, political, etc.). This is the case in my latest work in India, pleas. In Bhopal, they point out the consequences of the worst chemical disaster the world has ever known, and in Rajsamand, they tell of the difficult working conditions of the miners. Statement An intuition, a call following the reading of an article or a book, moves me from my daily life in the metropolis and I set off to meet the other. The country is always far away, the situation speaks of a reprieve. Through photography I seek an encounter with the other, the other in what is different about him, his way of life, his language, which I try as much as possible to learn in order to be in touch with him. I am looking for an encounter with a place that also has its own language that often says the impalpable, what does not always appear at first sight, a place to be deciphered. In these encounters, I also seek an encounter with myself, because the other person questions me, challenges me, shakes up my preconceptions, pushes me to question myself. In my last work on the miners of Rajasthan, I sought to pay tribute to men in pain, working in sandstone or marble quarries, working without safety clothing, for a ridiculous salary, without a work contract, and more than half of whom suffer from silicosis because they work without masks. In most of my other photographic works, I try to bear witness but also to show a cultural heritage that is on the verge of disappearing, and to talk about those who keep it alive and often fight against a progressive assimilation. Of course, the time needed for these encounters, for this acceptance by the communities in which I immerse myself, implies taking time. A lot of time. It is the only way to establish the links that open doors, give access to knowledge, beliefs, and sometimes even confidences. Learning the Hindi language has helped me to better understand the personal stories of all the men and women I have photographed, to understand the distress that lies behind their dignity. I try to document the issues through personal stories that are each unique and singular. This is what I have done here with the miners of Rajasthan, or previously with the women of Bhopal, the postmen of Rajasthan, or the Akhas of Thailand. I offer you my view, nourished by what my encounters have revealed to me, my way of documenting it, as close as possible or with distance when necessary. A view that I hope will open up the possibility of better understanding, or at least of trying. That's already a lot.
Bert Stern
United States
1929 | † 2013
Bertram Stern (October 3, 1929 – June 26, 2013) was a self-taught American commercial photographer. He was the son of Jewish immigrants and grew up in Brooklyn. His father worked as a children’s portrait photographer. After dropping out of high school at the age of 16, he gained a job in the mail room at Look magazine. He became art director at Mayfair magazine, where Stern learned how to develop film and make contact sheets, and started taking his own pictures. In 1951, Stern was drafted into the US Army and was sent to Japan and assigned to the photographic department. In the 1960s Stern's heavy use of amphetamines, led to the destruction to his marriage to Balanchine ballerina, Allegra Kent. By the late 1970s Stern returned to the U.S. to photograph portraits and fashion. He was the subject of the 2010 documentary, "Bert Stern: Original Madman," directed by his secret wife, Shannah Laumeister. Ms. Laumeister and Stern never lived together, and Stern had a long standing relationship of 20+ years with Lynette Lavender who was his constant and devoted companion. His first professional assignment was in 1955 for a Madison Avenue advertising agency for Smirnoff vodka. His best known work is arguably The Last Sitting, is a collection of 2,500 photographs taken for Vogue of Marilyn Monroe over a three-day period, six weeks before her death. Stern's book The Last Sitting was published in 1982 and again in 2000. He has photographed Audrey Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor, Madonna, Kylie Minogue, Drew Barrymore and Lindsay Lohan (recreating The Last Sitting), among others, in addition to his work for advertising and travel publications.(Source: en.wikipedia.org)
Michal Cala
Poland
1948
Michal Cala was born in Toruń, Poland in 1948 and studied aircraft construction in Warsaw at the University of Technology in the early 1970's. From 1974 to 1983 he worked as an engineer in various companies in Silesia, and began photographing in the area. In 1977, he moved to Tychy in Upper Silesia, where he co-founded the photographers' association KRON and become a member of the ZPAF – the Union of Polish Art Photographers. Relatively unknown outside of his native country, his work is in several museum collections in Poland; in the Silesian Museum of Katowice, the Silesian Library in Katowice, the Upper Silesian Museum in Bytom, the Coal Mining Museum in Zabrze as well as local government building in Duisburg in the Ruhr (Germany) and various private collections. His work has received much acclaim and won numerus awards; among which are the Grand Prix at the Polish Landscape Biennale in Kielce twice, 1979 and 1983 and won the first prise at the Pilsner International Photo Awards in the Industrial category in 2007. His work from Galicia series and the Paysages de Pologne exhibition was shown in France in 1980's. The Silesia exhibition was shown widely in Katowice (1984, 2002, 2008), Krakow (1986, 2006), Warsaw (1986, 2009), in Enschede, the Netherlands, (2012), at the Photo Biennale Mannheim – Ludwigshafen – Heidelberg (2007) and part of group project at the Noorderlicht Photo Festival in the Netherlands (2008). In 2007 he was classified as one of most important Polish photographers in last century and participated in the group exhibition Polish Photography in XX Century (Warsaw, Poland and Vilnius, Lithuania). In the same year, Cala's photography was featured in British Journal of Photography and Foto8 magazine. Publications on his work include The Anthology of Polish Photography 1839 – 1989, The Masters of Polish Landscape and The Polish Photography in the 20th Century. His past exhibition Metropolis on Silesian urban landscapes was held at the Silesian Museum in Katowice in 2013 and a solo show Silesia and Galicia in the Museum of History of Photography in 2016 in Krakow (Poland). His photo book based on the same series was recently selected in the Open Submission at Belfast and Athens Photo Festivals respectively (2017). The latest solo exhibition at MMX Gallery; SILESIA 1975-1985, was the first time his work has been shown in UK.MMX Gallery about the exhibition Silesia 1975-1985 Michal Cala is regarded as one of the most important Polish photographers of the last century. Cala started taking pictures in his youth and has been working professionally as a photographer for nearly 40 years. Silesia is an industrial district in Poland which at the time of 1970's and early 1980's was experiencing its peak of development and activity. Although providing massive employment for the area, the environmental issues were ignored. Stepping off the train, Cala encountered the other-worldly landscape for the first time and decided this is what he wanted to make of photographic record of. Fascinated by the subject matter, he devoted himself to photographing the Silesian landscape between 1975 – 1992, which resulted in the series entitled Silesia (Śląsk in Polish). Cala's photography took on various influences ranging from surrealism, which inspired a movement in Poland called "fotografia kreacyjna" (creative photography), and the realism of British New Wave cinema of the late 1950's and early 1960's. Poland's isolation during the Cold War made it very difficult for photographers to obtain artistic publications. However, some Czech and Polish magazines were publishing Western photographers work such as Edward Weston, Bill Brandt, Robert Frank and Diane Arbus who acted as a window for inspiration. Cala was influenced by landscape, reportage and social documentary photography, which he always portrayed in his personally stylised images. In Poland, political and material conditions were harsh under Soviet influence. Using a basic 35mm Exa 500 camera, he managed to produce images of such a lyrical beauty only to be emphasised again with a dark graphic printing style, to further enhance his vision of the sometimes-apocalyptic looking landscape before him. A single house surrounded by huge cooling towers, majestic slagheaps, lonely figures microscopic when compared to the massive scale of industrial surroundings are subtle metaphors of living in a communist reality. The majority of photographs in the exhibition are vintage silver gelatin prints, made by Cala at the time they were taken.Source: MMX Gallery
Byung-Hun Min
South Korea
1955
Byung-hun Min was born in Seoul, South Korea, in 1955. Min started out as a musician and vocalist, then a student of electronic engineering, before finally discovering photography. He turned to study photography in his late 20’s at the Soon-tae Hong studio, from where he has pursued a successful career in photography. He has been awarded the Dong-A International Photography Salon’s silver medal (1984). Min's work has been widely exhibited and collected by institutions including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Brookings Institution, Washington, DC; Centre National des Arts Plastiques, Paris; Seoul Art Center; and National Museum of Contemporary Art, Gwachon, Korea. Min's work was included in the Museum of Contemporary Photography exhibition Alienation and Assimilation: Contemporary Images and Installations from The Republic of Korea, presented April 4 through May 30, 1998. Byung-hun Min takes inspiration from the Korean landscape and culture; his photographs embody a blend of beauty, intricacy, and metaphor. Min's photographs of grasses were taken on repeated visits to the same site where weeds have grown up against vinyl greenhouses and dried to their surfaces. In these austere works, Min captures patterns that masterfully rephrase a delicacy and sensitivity to nature inherited from traditional Korean art.Source: Miyako Yoshinaga Min’s black-and-white photography often represents nature and the environment; and his pictures aim to capture the essence of the Korean landscape. His photographs also draw references to traditional Korean and East Asian art and culture, with a resemblance to ink scroll paintings, floral themes, and a focus on simplicity and minimalist compositions. His pictures are often attributed to being able to capture the delicacy and silence of nature. Min’s photographs also require effort on the part of the viewer. The subject of his pictures may be obscured, like the canvas of a greenhouse in his Weeds series, or obscured by light, like in the Snowland series. The subject may be in the distance beyond a fog-like veil, forcing the viewer to focus his attention persistently in order to have the subject of the picture revealed, as in the Trees and Flowers series. Min's poised and gentle approach to photography has granted him with a distinct, naturalistic style. Source: Peter Fetterman Gallery
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AAP Magazine #22: Streets
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