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Lena Marie Fossen
Photo © Trond W Andersen
Lena Marie Fossen
Lena Marie Fossen

Lena Marie Fossen

Country: Norway
Birth: 1986 | Death: 2019

Lene Marie Fossen sadly passed away on October 22nd 2019.
Lene Marie Fossen wanted to stop time 23 years ago. She was only 10 years old when she decided to stop eating and struggled with anorexia the rest of her life. She chose to be open about her disease and is best known for her beautiful and revealing self-portraits. Her soulful portraits of victims of the refugee crisis on the island of Chios in Greece also bear witness of a unique photographer and artist.

Lene Maries last wish was that her work should be shared with as many people as possible. My photographs are not about Anorexia she said.
They are about human suffering.

Exhibitions - books - documentary
2011 Melkefabrikken - Toten - Norway
2011 Chios Citrus - Chios - Greece
2012 Galleri Fenka - Levanger - Norway
2016 Kaire Gallerii - Tønsberg - Norway
2017 Nordic Light - Kristiansund - Norway
2020 'The Gatekeeper' published by Kehrer Verlag LINK
2020 'The Self Portrait' a documentary by Margreth Olin LINK
2020 WILLAS contemporary/ Shoot Gallery - The Gatekeeper - Oslo - Norway
2020 Stiklestad Nasjonale Kultursenter - Norway - The Gatekeeper
 

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Thierry Cohen
France
1963
Thierry Cohen was born in Paris in 1963. He began his professional career in 1985 and is seen as one of the pioneers of digital photography. His work has been shown at the Palais de Tokyo, and the Musee de l”Homme in Paris, and in 2008 was an official selection of the Mois de la Photo. Since 2010 he has devoted himself to a single project – “Villes Enteintes” (Darkened Cities) – which depicts the major cities of the world as they would appear at night without light pollution, or in more poetic terms: how they would look if we could see the stars. Cohen’s method is original and precise and harkens back to the methodologies employed by early 19th century photographers like Gustave Le Grey. He photographs the world’s major cities, seeking out views that resonate for him and noting the precise time, angle, and latitude and longitude of his exposure. As the world rotates around its axis the stars that would have been visible above a particular city move to deserts, plains, and other places free of light pollution. By noting the precise latitude and angle of his cityscape, Cohen is able to track the earth’s rotation to places of atmospheric clarity like the Mojave, the Sahara, and the Atacama desert. There he sets up his camera to record what is lost to modern urban dwellers. Compositing the two images, Cohen creates a single new image full of resonance and nuance. The work is both political and spiritual questioning not only what we are doing to the planet but drawing unexpected connections between disparate locations. Equally importantly it asks: what do we miss by obscuring the visibility of stars? As the world's population becomes increasingly urban, there is a disjunction with the natural world which both Cohen and science posit causes both physical and psychological harm. Cities that never sleep are made up of millions of individuals breaking natural cycles of work and repose. Cohen’s photographs attempt to restore our vision, and in beautifully crafted prints and images offer the viewer a possibility - to re-connect us to the infinite energy of the stars.Source: Danziger Gallery
Justyna Neryng
Poland
1981
Born in Poland in 1981, Justyna Neryng spent much of her childhood playing with her father’s cameras and dark room while roaming the forests of Chelmsko on the Czech boarder. As an adult, a mother and an immigrant to Britain, her photography has flourished into a substantial body of portraiture. Perhaps the most evocative of her works are her exquisitely emotive self-portraits that seem to carry the dark spirit of the forest from her childhood as well as potently baring the scares of modern womanhood. They show vulnerability and intimate eroticism as well as a deep sense of isolation and alienation. It is these portraits that have been most published and exhibited in both in her polish homeland and in the UK. More recently Justyna has begun to collaborate with her daughter Nell, on a project called Childhood Lost. Justyna currently produces her works in her adopted home town of Brighton and Hove, where she lives with her daughter. Artist Statement: Childhood Lost is an autobiographical ,self portrait in a different body, ongoing project exploring the nature of portraiture and memory. As a single mother I have found myself exploring notions and representations of childhood. I see my daughter’s experiences of growing up in urban England conflicting with my own experiences of growing up in rural Poland.I must confess that my own childhood is not a source of many happy memories, perhaps the most resonant of which are the times I escaped to a world of fantasy played out in the forests surrounding my home village of Chelmsko. Watching my daughter grow up has in a sense held a mirror to my own memories of the past while experiencing her childhood dreams enacted through play, and story telling. I find myself in a strange place where I can experience my own memories as well as see my daughter’s childhood through my adult eyes. It is these notions I am seeking to explore with the Childhood Lost project. Interweaving childhood nostalgia with the stories and myths of my Polish childhood and those that I share with my essentially British daughter. The project is using these ideas to produce a series of portraits that evoke characters that populate this world we know as childhood. A court of characters from myth and dreams. The images are aesthetically inspired by portraiture from the Golden Age of Dutch painting. By drawing on paintings as inspiration I am hoping to give a timeless feel to the final images. Also key to the project is also the painstaking styling and prop building, which I am using to evoke these different persona played out by my daughter. I want to develop the series in to a substantial set of portraits of my daughter playing the characters of childhood, as well as producing more elaborate set pieces embracing a theatricality that would take the project to the next level. Subject to funding it would also be a dream of mine to be able to revisit the forests of my own childhood and produce work there. Justyna Neryng is a multi-award winning self-taught photographer born in Poland and now living and working in the United Kingdom. She spent much of her childhood playing with her father’s cameras and dark room while roaming the forests of her hometown. She specialises in portraits and nudes, her photography has flourished into a substantial body of portraiture. She is mainly known for her enchanting theatrical portraits of her daughter, a gallery of triumphal characters, captured on a neutral and undefined background, with their fantastic ‘uniforms’ and imperious look . These images are aesthetically inspired by portraiture from the Golden Age of Dutch painting. And her exquisitely emotive self-portraits that seem to carry the dark spirit of the forest from her childhood as well as potently baring the scars of modern womanhood. They show vulnerability and intimate eroticism as well as deep sense of isolation and alienation.Source: justynaneryng.com
Mark Steinmetz
United States
1961
Mark Christopher Steinmetz (born 1961) is an American photographer. He makes black and white photographs "of ordinary people in the ordinary landscapes they inhabit". Steinmetz's work was shown in a group exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, New York in 1993/1994 and in solo exhibitions at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art in 2015, the High Museum of Art in 2018 and at Fotohof in Salzburg, Austria in 2019. He is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship. His work is held in the collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, Hunter Museum of American Art, Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Whitney Museum of American Art and Museum of Modern Art, New York, and Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. Steinmetz was born in New York City and raised in the Boston suburbs of Cambridge and Newton until he was 12. He then moved to the midwest before, aged 21, he went to study photography at the Yale School of Art in New Haven, Connecticut. He left that MFA program after one semester and in mid 1983, aged 22, moved to Los Angeles in search of the photographer Garry Winogrand, whom he befriended. He moved to Athens, Georgia in 1999 and was still living and working there as of 2017. Marc Steinmetz makes photographs "of ordinary people in the ordinary landscapes they inhabit", and "in the midst of activity". Most of his work has been made in the USA but also in Berlin, Paris, and Italy. His books combine portraits (portrait-like but spontaneous) and candid photos of people, and also include animals and still life photos. He finds many of his subjects whilst walking around but he has also spent time at Little League Baseball and summer camps. Steinmetz predominantly works with black and white film, usually medium format, developed and printed in his own darkroom. He has mostly worked the same way with the same film, chemicals, and cameras since beginning in the mid 1980s.Source: Wikipedia Mark Steinmetz is an Athens, Georgia-based photographer whose work captures black-and-white images of Southern Americana as seen in urban, rural and suburban landscapes. “I like to stress the poetry and ambiance of a place, while still trying to be truthful,” he has remarked, and his candid shots of everyday life reflect this statement. Examples of this sentiment are strikingly portrayed in Steinmetz's new photo series Terminus, showing the everyday moments of people passing through airports. “At the airport, people from all over the world and from all walks of life can be found in the midst of their journeys,” Mark Steinmetz has said. “Though my main subject has been the passengers, I am also photographing the people who work at the airport, the interiors and exteriors of the planes, as well as the hotels, parking lots and neighborhoods that surround and support the airport.” Mark Steinmetz draws inspiration from a number of Southern artists whose talents extend beyond the realm of photography, and has remarked “the South has many great writers—William Faulkner, Flannery O'Connor, Carson McCullers—and they've influenced me.” Surprisingly, Mark Steinmetz did not originate in the South. In fact, he attended high school in Iowa and received his MFA from Yale University in 1986. (Though he initially dropped out in 1983 in order to move to Los Angeles and work with photographer Garry Winogrand) It wasn’t until 1999 that he left shooting freelance in Chicago and moved south for a teaching job at the University of Tennessee. He has remained in the South ever since. “I love the South for the weeds growing through the cracks of its sidewalks, for its humidity and for its chaos,” he has said. Interestingly, Mark Steinmetz has worked with analog since the beginning of his career, and even uses the same camera, film and development process today as he did as a novice photographer. Mark Steinmetz’ monographs include South Central (2007), South East (2008), Greater Atlanta (2009) and Summertime (2012). He has also been published in Aperture, Blind Spot and DoubleTake magazines. In 1994, he was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship, and in 1998 he participated in Light Work’s Artist-in-Residence Program. Mark Steinmetz has taught at a number of institutions, including Harvard, Sarah Lawrence College, Emory University and Yale. Steinmetz’ photos can be found in the collections of The Museum of Modern Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Whitney Museum of American Art, The Art Institute of Chicago and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.Source: Jackson Fine Art
Ricardo Miguel Hernandez
He studied at the Cátedra Arte de Conducta created and directed by Tania Bruguera. He has exhibited in several solo exhibitions in countries like Italy and Cuba. Among his group exhibitions those carrier as 3th edition International Collage Art. Retroavangarda Gallery. Warsaw; Relatos contemporáneos. PHotoEspaña 2020. Casa América; Social Subjetiva. PHotoEspaña 2019. Ateneo de Madrid; Identity, hibridism, diference. FestFoto Brazil 2019. Fundação Ibere Camargo in Porto Alegre; HOPE. ESMoA El Segundo Museum of Art in Los Angeles; Doble Play. Fotografía cubana. Foto Museo 4 Caminos in México City; Cuba. Tatuare la storia. PAC Padiglione D Arte Contemporanea in Milano and ZAC Zisa Arti Contemporanee in Palermo; Cuba en vivo. DOX Centre For Contemporary Art in Prague; Colimadores. Michael Horbach Stiftung in Colonia; and others group shows in America, Europe and Cuba. He has participated in numerous art events such as KAOS 3th Festival of Contemporary Collage, The Others Artfair, MIA Artfair, SetUp Artfair, 6th Contemporary Cuban Art Salon and others. Among the residencie and awards received, include: Arte no es fácil: Temporal Lapses and Artistic Traslation. Links Hall, Chicago´s Center for Independent Dance and Performance Arts; Special Mention SetUp, Italy; 21 Creation Study Scholarship "Discontinuous Room" Project, Visual Art Development Center (CDAV), Cuba; First Prize, IV Biennial of Photography in memoriam Alfredo Sarabia, Cuba; and prizes awarded in the II and IV International Festival of Video Art in Camagüey, Cuba. When the memory turns to dust (2018-2020) When the memory turns to dust, for me as an artist it is a reflective process in which I combine empirical, psychological and critical things. I conceive the random gesture between the selection of a certain photographic document and the preconception in invoice of different stories, as a rescue practice where the apparently disposable, old or residual bear the weight of a memory that is presented to me as a pretext to recontextualize and resemantize the frozen story on photographic paper. I appropriate myself of a found testimony that covers the twenties and eighties of the last century; I archive it, classify it and transmute it into a new metaphor. I conscientiously manipulate, meticulously elaborate other realities, juxtaposed, assembled, mutilated, where I do not intend to disguise the traces of time on paper, nor the seams resulting from these photo collages. I consider myself as a restless prowler, a visual archaeologist who operates technically and discursively on elasticity of a record of reality; an original story that I reactivate through the conception of an aesthetic ontology that encompasses the ideological, the social, the political, the religious, the familiar… This Series is a kind of built and resurrected testament in which meanings and mixtures of a culture such as the Cuban one, of mixed race and singular are distilled, which delights even today in nostalgia and sustenance of an astonishing and worn out ideal. I assemble landscapes, portraits, customs scenes or abstracts motifs to reformulate that individual/social memory; to enrich that heritage many times found within a Cuban family; and to offer a possible interstice that reminds us of who we are and how we see ourselves from the contemporary artistic debate.
Mitch Rouse
United States
1940
Mitch was a transportation entrepreneur in Long Beach, and is now a photographer based out of Cody, Wyoming. Before Mitch shot aerial images, he was an avid self-taught landscape photographer. In the realm of aerial photography, he began with with high tech drones and evolved into flying fixed wing. Unsatisfied with the limitations of these methods, he has now found the sweet spot between the two, by developing a system that incorporates a Bell helicopter with a 150 MP Phase One Industrial camera, inside a Shot Over gimbal, mounted to its nose. Mitch most enjoys shooting abstract land patterns and beautiful farmlands throughout the western states. He is also interested in industrial sites including agriculture, transportation, shipping, ports, solar power, wind power, oil and gas. His current projects include Los Angeles - Long Beach Harbor, piers of California, highway interchanges, oil and gas fields in the Central Valley of California, agriculture in the Central Valley of California, and agriculture in the Palouse region Washington, Oregon and Idaho. Top Views of The Palouse Symmetrical farmscapes and the asymmetrical patterns of natural landscapes have always been intriguing to Mitch Rouse, a photographer based out of Cody, Wyoming. Over the last four years, his passion for landscape photography and his deep desire to capture a unique perspective, evolved into taking to the skies with the right technology to capture those exclusive scenes from above. The Palouse in SE Washington is one of his favourite places to explore. Due to its geological heritage, the rolling hills of grasses are an endless sea. Farmland is scattered over this peculiar dune-like landscape, which formed sometime during the last several ice ages, when glacial silt was blown across the region forming dunes called "loess". The farmers who settled on this land had to develop methods of successful harvesting, where to avoid the steep slopes becoming hazardous to their tractors and combines, they would plough along the contours of the hills, this led to the use of special self-levelling harvesters that can cut crops safely and efficiently by constantly adjusting to the different gradients of the slopes. As you can imagine, the lines and patterns that these farming techniques produce, combined with the already picturesque landscape, are captivating from the air. These aerial photographs of The Palouse captured by Mitch, resemble topographical maps where the colour contrasts, line patterns and contour shapes have become a distinctive form of art. Two seasons in The Palouse are equally magnificent in their colours and textures. Mitch enjoys capturing both the vibrant green silky grass seas of Springtime, and the golden brown rough textures of the Harvest. The most appealing thing about photographing The Palouse is this combination of classic features of farmland, spread across this canvas of ‘dunes', resulting in truly mesmerising endless lines in both linear, and in curved patterns, with the play of the light across those textures and gradients, creating shadows and variations in the colour spectrums of the greens and yellows or of the browns and the golds. The aerial perspective gives these abstract art forms a boldness that cannot be fully appreciated from the ground. Mitch's favourite lens to use is a 35mm. This is due to its versatility with 100mp resolution, he can crop in with fantastic detail, or leave it at a wide angle. We think you'll agree that these resulting shots are really stunning and showcase this truly individual area of American geography.
Margarita Mavromichalis
Margarita Mavromichalis comes from a family of Greek diplomats and has spent her life living and traveling all over the world. She speaks five languages and studied translation and interpreting. She likes to think that photography is her second language, as it's a universal language, one that is understood by all across the world and conveys messages in the most powerful way. Margarita moved to New York in 2009. She continued her studies for three years at the International Center of Photography where she also served as a Teaching Assistant for several classes. She moved back to Greece from 2013 to 2016 where she devoted most of her work covering the refugee crisis as it developed on the island of Lesvos. She currently lives and works in London. Margarita is mostly attracted to street photography and the elements that evoke emotions and surprise in our every day life. Furthermore she is passionate about documenting current events that she feels very strongly about, highlighting their social impact. Her work has been displayed in exhibitions in New York, Boston, San Diego, The Museum of the City of New York, the Brooklyn Historical Society and most recently in Budapest, Athens, Paris, Berlin, Barcelona and London. Selected images are part of the permanent collections of the Museum of the City of New York and the Brooklyn Historical Society. She is the winner of the 9th Pollux Awards (2016) and the winner of the 12th edition of the Julia Margaret Cameron Awards (2018) and has been nominated for the 2019 Prix Pictet Hope Award.
Shelby Lee Adams
United States
1950
Shelby Lee Adams is an American environmental portrait photographer and artist best known for his images of Appalachian family life. Adams has photographed Appalachian families since the mid-1970s. He had first encountered the poor families of the Appalachian mountains as a child, travelling around the area with his uncle, who was a doctor. His work has been published in three monographs: Appalachian Portraits (1993), Appalachian Legacy (1998), and Appalachian Lives (2003). Adams was the subject of a documentary film by Jennifer Baichwal in 2002 - The True Meaning of Pictures: Shelby Lee Adams's Appalachia. This was shown at the Toronto International Film Festival, and at the Sundance Festival in 2003. The film critiques and defends Adams' method in photographing Appalachian people for his previously published books.Source: Wikipedia Born in Kentucky in the town of Hazard, and later living with his grandparents in Hot Spot, Shelby Lee Adams discovered photography and the arts in high school. It was during this time that the Peace Corps sent a film crew to his town to document the poverty of Appalachia, which sparked Adams' interest in the documentary style. He attended the Cleveland Institute of Art, where in his sophomore year he was exposed to the photographs of the Farm Security Administration. These pictures document the debilitating effects of the Depression in the South during the 1930s. Adams was able to relate to the images and the subjects, inspiring him to make the pictures for which he is now best known, his photographs of the people and culture of Appalachia. He began this project in 1973 and although he has done editorial work for publications like Fortune, GQ, New York Magazine, and the New York Times, he primarily focuses on portraits of the people of Appalachia. Shelby Lee Adams works primarily in black and white. He began with a 35mm camera and then switched to a 4x5. His crisp, poignant images show the people of Appalachia in their simple environments, revealing both the heroic and grotesque side to secluded mountain life. Adams photographs his subjects with an emphasis on the unpretty beauty of their immediate surroundings and their worn faces and clothes, their rudimentary living conditions starkly contrasted against the backdrop of a sublime landscape. But they are not depicted as victims; they confront the camera proudly and matter-of-factly. Shelby Lee Adams considers his subjects his friends, which no doubt lends a level of comfort to the shooting sessions, as they face his large camera. In his most recent work, Adams documents the infiltration of progress and media into the folkways of the Appalachian people, capturing the displacement of an agrarian economy. Drawn to the attractions of pop culture and modern life, the Appalachian people are losing interest in living off the land. Adams' work has received a great deal of recognition. He is the recipient of a survey grant and photography fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts (1978, 1992), along with an artist support grant four years running from the Polaroid Corporation (1989-92). His photographs are held in the permanent collections of many museums, including the Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art, both in New York, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C., the Harvard Fogg Museum in Cambridge, and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.Source: International Center of Photography
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
John R. Pepper
John Randolph Pepper, (1958) is an Italian photographer, screenwriter, theatre and film director, the son of sculptress Beverly Pepper and journalist/writer Curtis Bill Pepper, editor of Newsweek and manager of its Rome office. He was born and raised in Rome; lives in Palermo and works worldwide. Pepper started his career in Black & White analogical photography with an apprenticeship to Ugo Mulas at 14. He published his first photograph at 15 and had his first show at 17. He studied History of Art at Princeton University, where he was also the youngest member of the exclusive painting program, '185 Nassau Street'. He then became a 'Directing Fellow' at The American Film Institute, (Los Angeles) and subsequently worked as a director in theatre and film for 20 years. For thirty years, he dedicated himself to photography while directing both theatre and film. During that time he continued to take photographs with his Leica camera always using the same Ilford HP5 film stock. John R. Pepper, represented by the Art of Foto Gallery (St. Petersburg, Russia) and The Empty Quarter Gallery (Dubai, UAE), is a 'Cultural Ambassador' of numerous Italian Institutes of Culture in may parts of the world. Since 2008 he has exhibited his different projects 'Rome: 1969 - An Homage to Italian Neo-Realist Cinema', 'Sans Papier', 'Evaporations' in the United States, France, Italy, the Middle East and Russia. He has published three books and is represented in several major museums around the world. Since 2015 Pepper has been working on his project 'Inhabited Deserts', where he explores deserts and their effect on time, history and people. 'Inhabited Deserts' debuted in Paris in November 2017; in September 2018, with the support of the Italian Embassy in Iran and the Italian Foreign Ministry, Pepper exhibited at the Aaran Projects Gallery in Tehran where he was one of the first Italian photographers since the Iranian Revolution of 1979. In November 2018, after participating at Paris Photo with the Galerie Sophie Scheidecker, 'Inhabited Deserts' went to Tel Aviv, Israel, representing Italy at the 6th International Photo Festival 'Photo Is:Rael'. From December 12th 2018 to February 15th Inhabited Deserts was presented at The Empty Quarter Gallery in Dubai, U.A.E. with curatorial text by Kirill Petrin. Subsequently the show opened on March 19, 2019 in Saint Petersburg, Russia, at the Art of Foto Gallery and shortly thereafter, on April 18th, it returned to Tel Aviv at the NOX Contemporary Gallery. In 2020 Inhabited Deserts will be seen in the United States and Italy. Per John Pepper "When talking about photography, we're talking about time. The image is fixed in time. We also talk about black and white and color, digital and film, reality and punctum - the critical concept of the French philosopher Roland Barthes, denoting the wounding, personally touching detail, which establishes a direct relationship with the object or person within it. Is a photographer an artist or not? The ones who feel they are, modestly define themselves as artisans. Still others, who do not think of themselves as photographers will snap photos relying on destiny's outcome. Finally, there are the ones who fantasize conceptual sequences snapped in extravagant situations - most of which without interest. About photography, much has been said. There are established masters, schools of thought, and many hopes. Yet whoever is sufficiently open to a vision within himself, who has cherished and assimilated the masters, will emerge with something new. Passion triumphs when backed by culture. When looking at one of John Pepper's photographs - the one with the group of people, friends and family, in front of their home, for example - I think of Paul Strand's image in his book, published with Zavattini 'Un paese' del 1955. There is a similar gathering of characters at the doorstep of their home. Time here is not just in the shutter time and lens aperture - a sixtieth of a second at eight - but in the transformation of the people, in the process of revealing themselves. With John, however, the appearances differ from those of Strand - moved up in time as evident in the shoes and pants, the motorcycle helmet, the technology of the wheelchair and the modern necklace of the young girl. They appear happy and to be speaking to the photographer. Despite some apparently expensive upper-class possessions, we perceive they are of a modest condition. In Strand's photograph, there is no doubt they are of peasant culture. Motionless, they stare at the photographer with a serious gaze, though ignorant of the world of images. Today, image is consumerism. It goes beyond diffidence. Everyone can have a camera, a motorcycle helmet and Nike shoes. People are well nurtured; they have even grown in height. With John the scene is of movement. The characters interact with ease, and the photographer is part of the game. He uses black and white film enhanced by the fine art of printing - images stemming from classical photography. John was just a boy when he came to my house in Milan, in piazza Castello, above the studio that once belonged to Ugo. I like to think that the darkroom at that time influenced him. Who knows? However, I do believe that Ugo's work helped him to become a photographer. His reportage in Italy is filtered through the memory of many great photographers - Diane Arbus, Cartier Bresson, Robert Frank, the first Richard Avedon, and William Klein to name a few. He has also traveled through Italy, in the streets and byways of youth, finding dramatic, enlightened faces in the theater of life. His portrait of the religious procession is most beautiful, with a perfect, compact, composition, among astonished angels and those bearing a religious float against a sharp background of light. John lives and works in Palermo, an outward antithesis of New York. An American born and raised in Italy, it is as an Italian that he grasps the vital spirit, the soul, and the humanity of people. His choice to live in a region like Sicily, so full of contradictions and archaic values, will surely help him in chronicling the history of change in our era. Then, apart from making art, he will have absorbed it as his own - a part of his life that will recur in defining time, space, and the evolution of the human condition." Antonia Mulas, Todi, May 5, 2012
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