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Michael Knapstein
Michael Knapstein
Michael Knapstein

Michael Knapstein

Country: United States
Birth: 1956

Michael Knapstein (born 1956, Stevens Point, Wisconsin, USA) is a fine-art photographer who has earned international recognition for his insightful and nuanced visual exploration of the American Midwest. He now lives in Middleton, Wisconsin.

Michael's photographs began attracting national attention while still in high school. At the age of 17, his work earned its way into the permanent collection of the George Eastman Museum in Rochester, NY. After graduating from the College of Fine Arts and Communication at the University of Wisconsin, Knapstein began a 30+ year career in the world of advertising. He sold his ad agency in 2010 and returned to his first love of photography. Since this reemergence, Michael's work has been recognized with hundreds of awards in some of the world's most prestigious photography competitions. He is a four-time Critical Mass Finalist, Pollux Award Winner and was named International Landscape Photographer of the Year at the 5th Barcelona Foto Biennale in Barcelona, Spain. He was also named one of "14 Inspiring American Artists" by Skillshare and Feature Shoot. His work has been widely exhibited in museums and galleries around the world.

About Midwest Memoir
There is a certain magic to the American Midwest.

Honest. Modest. Understated. Sometimes unappreciated. Often overlooked.

I created Midwest Memoir as a way to help others see the Midwest in a whole new light. The Midwest in which I was raised. The Midwest that shaped my experiences and my artistic aesthetic. The Midwest the way I will always remember it, even though it continues to change and disappear around me.

I think of the Midwest as being classic and timeless in nature. Therefore, I approached this project from a time-honored "straight photography" perspective in the spirit of Group f/64 and gave the work a modernist character with a strong formalist dimension. My approach was informed by the work of mid-century modernist photographers such as Adams, Weston, White, Strand and Evans.

My work was also strongly influenced by the American Regionalism movement and the work of artists who portrayed the American heartland, including Wood, Benton, Curry, Wyeth and Hopper.

If you pause for a moment, perhaps you'll feel the humid air of an approaching thunderstorm, or catch the smell of fresh laundry as it dries in the summer breeze. That is my Midwest Memoir.
 

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Ed Kashi
United States
1957
Ed Kashi is a photojournalist, filmmaker and educator dedicated to documenting the social and political issues that define our times. A sensitive eye and an intimate relationship to his subjects are signatures of his work. As a member of the prestigious photo agency VII, Kashi has been recognized for his complex imagery and its compelling rendering of the human condition.“I take on issues that stir my passions about the state of humanity and our world, and I deeply believe in the power of still images to change people’s minds. I’m driven by this fact; that the work of photojournalists and documentary photographers can have a positive impact on the world. The access people give to their lives is precious as well as imperative for this important work to get done. Their openness brings with it a tremendous sense of responsibility to tell the truth but to also honor their stories.”Kashi’s images have been published and exhibited worldwide. Another of Kashi’s innovative approaches to photography and filmmaking produced the Iraqi Kurdistan Flipbook with MediaStorm, which premiered on MSNBC.com in December 2006. Using stills in a moving image format, this creative and thought-provoking form of visual storytelling has been shown in many film festivals and as part of a series of exhibitions on the Iraq War at The George Eastman House. Also, an eight-year personal project completed in 2003, Aging in America: The Years Ahead, created a traveling exhibition, an award-winning documentary film, a website and a book which was named one of the best photo books of 2003 by American Photo.Along with numerous awards, including Second Prize Contemporary Issues Singles in the 2011 World Press Photo Contest, UNICEF’s Photo of the Year 2010, a Prix Pictet 2010 Commission and honors from Pictures of the Year International, Communication Arts and American Photography, Kashi’s images have been published and exhibited worldwide, and his editorial assignments and personal projects have generated six books. In 2008, Curse of the Black Gold: 50 Years of Oil in the Niger Delta was published, and June 2009, saw the publication of Kashi’s latest book THREE, based on a series of triptychs culled from more than 20 years of image making.In 2002, Kashi and his wife, writer / filmmaker Julie Winokur, founded Talking Eyes Media. The non-profit company has produced numerous short films and multimedia pieces that explore significant social issues. The first project resulted in a book and traveling exhibition on uninsured Americans called, Denied: The Crisis of America’s Uninsured.“Ed Kashi is intelligent, brave and compassionate. He always understands the nuances of his subjects. He fearlessly goes where few would venture. And he sympathetically captures the soul of each situation. Ed is one of the best of a new breed of photojournalistic artists.”David Griffin, Visuals Editor, The Washington Post
Bill Gekas
Australia
Australia-based photographer Bill Gekas has a real knack for portraiture, particularly the kind that results in an homage to many Old Masters of classic paintings, including artists like Vemeer and Rembrandt. Using his five-year-old daughter as the model, Gekas recreates many mid-18th century settings that are inspired by portraits of adults from famous paintings. He styles the environment and his daughter to fit the time period, and uses strobe lights to maintain the appearance of soft, natural lighting. The self-taught photographer learned on 35mm and has since turned to digital techniques. He uses post-processing to put the final touches on each of his photographs. Through hard work, experimentation, and a grand vision, the talented artist has successfully produced an extensive collection—a tribute to both the well-known artists as well as to his young daughter. As Gekas has evolved as a photographer, so has his unique style. He says "Don’t be scared of taking certain elements from different works and molding them into something to call your own. You might like the lighting from a photo you saw somewhere, a prop from another photo, colors from another. The key is not to limit yourself with the excuse, ‘It’s all been done before.’ Yes, many things have been done before, but with some careful thought you can adjust a concept to give it your signature. Experiment!”From www.billgekas.comMy name is Bill Gekas and I was born and live in Melbourne, Australia. A self taught photographer that learnt the technicals of photography using a 35mm film slr camera from the mid 90's and switched to digital in 2005, practicing the art of photography and constantly refining my style. Source: My Modern Met
Werner Bischof
Switzerland
1916 | † 1954
Bischof was born in Zürich, Switzerland. When he was six years old, the family moved to Waldshut, Germany, where he subsequently went to school. In 1932, having abandoned studies to become a teacher, he enrolled at the Kunstgewerbeschule in Zürich, where he graduated cum laude in 1936. From 1939 on, he worked as an independent photographer for various magazines, in particular, du, based in Zürich. He travelled extensively from 1945 to 1949 through nearly all European countries from France to Romania and from Norway to Greece. His works on the devastation in post-war Europe established him as one of the foremost photojournalists of his time. He was associated into Magnum Photos in 1948 and became a full member in 1949. At that time Magnum was composed of just five other photographers, its founders Robert Capa, Henri Cartier-Bresson, George Rodger, David Seymour, and Ernst Haas. The focus of much of Bischof's post-war humanist photography was showing the poverty and despair around him in Europe, tempered with his desire to travel the world, conveying the beauty of nature and humanity. In 1951, he went to India, freelancing for Life, and then to Japan and Korea. For Paris Match he worked as a war reporter in Vietnam. In 1954, he travelled through Mexico and Panama, before flying to Peru, where he embarked on a trip through the Andes to the Amazonas on 14 May. On 16 May his car fell off a cliff on a mountain road in the Andes, and all three passengers were killed. Source: Wikipedia Werner Bischof was born in Switzerland. He studied photography with Hans Finsler in his native Zurich at the School for Arts and Crafts, then opened a photography and advertising studio. In 1942, he became a freelancer for Du magazine, which published his first major photo essays in 1943. Bischof received international recognition after the publication of his 1945 reportage on the devastation caused by the Second World War. In the years that followed, Bischof traveled in Italy and Greece for Swiss Relief, an organization dedicated to post-war reconstruction. In 1948, he photographed the Winter Olympics in St Moritz for LIFE magazine. After trips to Eastern Europe, Finland, Sweden and Denmark, he worked for Picture Post, The Observer, Illustrated, and Epoca. He was the first photographer to join Magnum with the founding members in 1949. Disliking the ‘superficiality and sensationalism’ of the magazine business, he devoted much of his working life to looking for order and tranquility in traditional culture, something that did not endear him to picture editors looking for hot topical material. Nonetheless, he found himself sent to report on the famine in India by Life magazine (1951), and he went on to work in Japan, Korea, Hong Kong and Indochina. The images from these reportages were used in major picture magazines throughout the world. In the autumn of 1953, Bischof created a series of expansively composed color photographs of the USA. The following year he traveled throughout Mexico and Panama, and then on to a remote part of Peru, where he was engaged in making a film. Tragically, Bischof died in a road accident in the Andes on 16 May 1954, only nine days before Magnum founder Robert Capa lost his life in Indochina. Source: Magnum Photos
Sem Langendijk
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1990
Sem Langendijk is a documentary photographer with an interest in communities and their habitat, the urban environment and spatial arrangements. He observes the identity of a place, the impact communities have on their environments, and how space functions within the structures of a city. Langendijk shoots on large and medium format cameras, and aims to imbue his subjects with a certain tranquility. He continues to balance his work on the very narrow edge between visual storytelling and poetic personal documentation. Langendijk studied documentary photography at the Royal Academy of Arts, The Hague. In 2018, he was a recipient of the Mondrian Fund Stipendium for Emerging Artists and his work is exhibited at multiple art fairs and festivals, most recently 'The American Landscape', a group show travelling the US with The Gallery Club. He is currently working in Amsterdam, Londen and New York, on a personal body of work, continuing his research about the former Docklands. As an artist I intend to raise questions about the concept of 'the city' in our time. What role does history play in the identity of place, and feeling of belonging? How does ownership of (private) property relate to the right of the city? Through working with communities and researching their habitats I try to reveal (economical and political) systems that influence today's city life. My visual work is loosely related to social geography and anthropology, as I do field research and create visual notes. I combine this with more structured and methodological work, such as typologies. With these approaches I mean to reflect upon, as well as creating a more personal excerpt of, reality.
Vivian Maier
United States
1926 | † 2009
Vivian Dorothea Maier (February 1, 1926 – April 21, 2009) was an American amateur street photographer, who was born in New York City but grew up in France. After returning to the United States, she worked for about forty years as a nanny in Chicago, IL. During those years, she took about 100,000 photographs, primarily of people and cityscapes in Chicago, although she traveled and photographed worldwide. Her photographs remained unknown and mostly undeveloped until they were discovered by a local Chicago historian and collector, John Maloof, in 2007. Following Maier's death, her work began to receive critical acclaim. Her photographs have been exhibited in the US, England, Germany, Denmark, and Norway, and have appeared in newspapers and magazines in the US, England, Germany, Italy, France and other countries. A book of her photography titled Vivian Maier: Street Photographer was published in 2011.Personal lifeMany of the details of Maier's life are still being uncovered. Initial impressions about her life indicated that she was born in France, but further researching revealed that she was born in New York, the daughter of Maria Jaussaud and Charles Maier, French and Austrian respectively. Vivian moved between the U.S. and France several times during her childhood, although where in France she lived is unknown. Her father seems to have left the family for unknown reasons by 1930. In the census that year, the head of the household was listed as award-winning portrait photographer Jeanne Bertrand, who knew the founder of the Whitney Museum of American Art. In 1951, at 25, Maier moved from France to New York, where she worked for some time in a sweatshop. She made her way to the Chicago area's North Shore in 1956 and became a nanny on and off for about 40 years, staying with one family for 14 of them. She was, in the accounts of the families for whom she worked, very private, spending her days off walking the streets of Chicago and taking photographs, most often with a Rolleiflex camera. John Maloof, curator of Maier's collection of photographs, summarizes the way the children she nannied would later describe her: She was a Socialist, a Feminist, a movie critic, and a tell-it-like-it-is type of person. She learned English by going to theaters, which she loved. She wore a men's jacket, men's shoes and a large hat most of the time. She was constantly taking pictures, which she didn't show anyone. Between 1959 and 1960, Maier traveled to and photographed in Los Angeles, Manila, Bangkok, Beijing, Egypt, Italy and the American Southwest. The trip was probably financed by the sale of a family farm in Alsace. For a brief period in the 1970s, Maier worked as a nanny for Phil Donahue's children. As she got older, she collected more boxes of belongings, taking them with her to each new post. At one employer's house, she stored 200 boxes of materials. Most were photographs or negatives, but Maier collected other objects, such as newspapers, and sometimes recorded audiotapes of conversations she had with people she photographed. Toward the end of her life, Maier may have been homeless for some time. She lived on Social Security and may have had another source of income, but the children she had taken care of in the early 1950s bought her an apartment in the Rogers Park area of Chicago and paid her bills. In 2008, she slipped on ice and hit her head. She did not fully recover and died in 2009, at 83.(Source: en.wikipedia.org)
Joseph-Philippe Bevillard
United States/Ireland
Born in Boston, Joseph-Philippe started drawing and painting after he lost his hearing at the age of 3. He took up photography during his senior year at a private school in Massachusetts. In 1985, he enrolled at the Rochester Institute of Technology to study photography where he remained there for 2 yrs before changing direction in career due to financial circumstances, In 1990 he return to photography to study at the Art Institute of Boston. It was in 1990, Joseph-Philippe developed a style for his square B&W portraitures of people he met in the nightclubs and on the street. After working for several major photo labs in Massachusetts in the last half of 1990, he moved to Ireland during the millenium to start his property management business. In 2007, he went back to photograph portraits using the same camera and style as he did in the early 90's. In 2010, he started a new project, photographing the Irish Travellers and four years later, he formed the Irish Travellers Photo Workshop. In June 2018, Joseph-Philippe started a colour project on Irish Travellers using a digital camera and continue shooting B&W film with Hasselblad. His work has been published by Amnesty International, Der Spiegel, EyeShot, Dodho, FotoNostrum, British Journal of Photography, Junge Welt, Lenswork, Life Force, Photo-Letter, Square, Shots and Vogue Italia as well as received awards from International Photography Awards, PX3 Paris, Photo Vogue Italia, FotoNostrum and Lensculture. His recent exhibitions included Les Recontres d'Arles, Espace Beaurepaire Paris, Leica Gallery Milan, Somerset House London, New Hampshire Institute of The Arts, Royal Hibernian Academy Dublin and Central Intelligence Agency in Washington, DC. His first monograph 'Minceirs' will be available in early May 2021 and can be pre-ordered through this link: www.skeletonkeypress.com or thru the artist. For workshop info, exhibition, publication and prints enquiry, please contact the artist through his email at: joseph-philippebevillard@hotmail.com MINCÉIRS: Mincéirs are a traditionally nomadic ethnic minority indigenous to Ireland, referred to by the Irish Government and the settled population as Irish Travellers. The Mincéir is a true name of the Irish travelling community in their own language which is called Cant or Gammon. Although the Irish Travellers speak English, the lingo they use amongst each other at times is Cant/Gammon. The name Traveller was put upon them because of their nomadic identity. Back in the 5th century the term these groups of people were called Whitesmiths because of their association and skills as tin-smithing. Over the years the Irish Travellers have been called Tinkers, Knackers, Itinerants, Gyspy and Pavee by some of the settled population which the Irish Travellers have found very offensive and racial. Any settled person who is not racist would use the term Irish Traveller or Travellers which is politically correct. Unfortunately many of the Irish Travellers are subjected to the continuous use of these offensive labels. I would like to mention a few facts and some background information on this minority group of people who live mostly in Ireland I will refer to them as Irish Travellers or Travellers for short. Approximately 35,000 Travellers live in Ireland, less than 1% of the Irish population. Most of the Irish Travellers live in halting sites which have been designated by the Irish government in 1968. The government were not happy with the Irish Travellers roadside camping, so they set up the so called temporary sites. Some families chose to stay and never moved, there are many of these halting sites which I have been privy to visit, but some are overcrowded due to large families and lack proper updated facilities. This in turn has forced some families to set up their own camps in disused fields, but because seen as illegal encampments the local councils are constantly trying to move the families on, and will not provide basic needs such as fresh water, electricity or sanitation. There is a small amount of Irish Travellers who wish to settle and have gone on the housing list. This can also be a tricky situation settled neighbours usually oppose having a travelling family living on their road, these leads to tension and racial abuse at times. So this discourages many families from settling. While education is mandatory for all children living in Ireland, the Irish Travellers usually drop out by the age of 15, a lot of this is due to the children being needed at home to tend to the younger or some just find mainstream school boring and not suited to their culture. I have heard from a home economics teacher that her class is probably the most popular subject amongst the female Travellers as cooking is necessary. There have also been some fantastic stories of Irish Travellers finishing 3rd level education and obtaining great careers such as Dr. Sindy Joyce. Dr. Joyce is the first Irish Traveller to graduate with a PhD and was recently appointed by our President as one of his advisors for council of the state in 2019. Vice-Chair of the National Traveller Mental Health Mags Casey explained that the causes of mental health issues affecting Travellers are Complex: "Clearly the issues that affect all Travellers-such as racism and exclusion matters relating to identity, sexuality, addiction, as well as unemployment, education and accommodation have a profound impact on the community's mental health". The following information is an excerpt from the National Traveller Mental Health Network officially launched in NUI Galway in 2019: 82 % of the Irish Traveller community have been affected by suicide. 90% Of Travellers agree that mental health issues are common amongst their community 56% of Travellers report poor physical and mental health restricts their normal daily activities. In March 2017, after 25 years of campaigning, finally Irish Travellers won formal recognition as a distinct ethnic group within the State. On that day the former director of the Irish Travellers Movement, Bridgid Quilligan stated: "We want every Traveller in Ireland to be proud of who they are and to say that "we are not a failed set of people. We have our own unique identity, and we shouldn't take on all the negative aspects of what people think about us. We should be able to be proud and for that to happen our State needed to acknowledge our identity and our ethnicity, and they're doing that today." What I have written is brief with some facts about these fascinating people who have made me feel utterly welcome at all times for the past 11 years. I am clearly not a writer, so I have recorded some facts and a brief synopsis into the life of Irish Travellers. I hope my photographs portray what I could not begin to write, and captured some of the Irish Travellers Lifestyle and Culture that is steeped in traditions, full of colour, celebrations, and hardships. Joseph-Philippe Bévillard, September 2020
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