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Mahya Rastegar
Mahya Rastegar
Mahya Rastegar

Mahya Rastegar

Country: Iran
Birth: 1980

I am Mahya Rastegar, born 1980 in Tehran, Iran, a graduate in Photography and a Documentary Photographer, based in Tehran, Iran. I began to study Graphic Design in 2000, but quit it very soon in 2001 to find my field of interest somewhere else. After many years, in 2010, I started to study Photography, and graduated in 2013.
I am mainly a social documentary photographer, most interested to capture the influential stories of women's lives.From the aspect of appearance, face and fashion, women are different from each other, but they are all the same in the way that all of them make efforts to get stronger in their inner world and possess the ability to live independently.
From 2015 until now, I've been working on a long-term documentary photographing project with topic of Iranian women with influential stories. The collections of photos about each woman have the form of stories of their lives, meaning that I'm talking about the lives of these women by taking pictures of them. While holding on to the passion of presenting all type of women issues as a woman and after some serious researches and studies, I started shooting Iranian women trough different projects since 2013.
In addition to all my ongoing projects, I have been working on a project called "To Remain Such a Woman" since 2016. I pictured all the women I live inside myself trough more than 10 women living under different conditions in the real/outside world (more on portfolio). This project will be released as a book soon.

Some of my photos had the chance to be released on different pages and magazines such as: Panospictures, UK, L'HEBDO Magazine, France, Refinery29 Blog, PRI Org, NYTimes, women Photograph: 2018 year in Pictures, welt.de, leparisien.fr, NBC news, Euronews, Photo printing in Lens magazine 2019, Fine art photography awards 2020 (portrait nominee), Tow Phot's from NBCnews.com's November gallery of Women defying stereotypes in Iran won an AI-AP award in 2020.

About Soudabeh
Soudabeh was born in 27 October 1976
Soudabeh is the deputy of women bodyguards in ISBTA association. she said : "l was seeking for a sport-educational system for years to evacuate my excitements and beside that I could be able to protect myself in front of bullies and also in dangerous situations", until I got to know the international security and bodyguard training association or ISBTA. This association legally and officially works.

Soudabeh's son, Pouria, was born in 25 March 1997. He was 10 when Soudabeh got divorced. Soudabeh has given motivation of independence to his son and Pouria has learned to sport and having a healthy body from his mother.

The first reason I chose Soudabeh was the divorce thing.In Iran ‘s society divorce and being divorced is still a taboo for women. A divorced woman can't easily go to work and still has challenges in her work communications with men. Soudabeh and even me are divorced women and we are facing obstacles in this patriarchal society and we were able to prove ourselves with an appropriate job in this society. Which means we can continue living despite the fact that we are divorced.

Soudabeh has been a body building coach for 8 years.
Before being a coach she used to work in an advertising company in the graphic section. Soudabeh went to a beauty salon which is owned by one of her students. She is student of body building and she just goes to gym for sport. Soudabeh, It's right that she is doing a masculine sport but at first she is a woman and then a mother and ultimately she is a woman bodybuilder. Her position as a deputy in this organization means she can holds ISBTA bodyguard classes for women and she she can teach in this classes as a coach.
 

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S. Gayle Stevens
United States
Christine Armbruster
Although a recent graduate of Brigham Young University with her Bachelor of Fine Art degree in Photography (2012), Christine Armbruster has managed to work on various projects and get published internationally. Working as a photojournalist in the Dominican Republic, Christine created her first solo show called "Working Identities: a collection of portraits from the Dominican Republic" which showed for a full year in 2009. This show was viewed all over Utah and various pieces won awards for documentary photography. The photojournalism work completed while there was published all of the world for papers such as USA Today and Dominican Today. Next on the list was Bosnia. Armbruster got grants and went to Sarajevo where the project, "Mortar Shells and Cigarettes", was completed. Walking the streets of Sarajevo for over a month, she captured these as a reaction to a city still recovering from war. The show exhibited in Utah as well as pieces were sent away to competitions in Texas. Prior to going to Bosnia, Armbruster started what would turn into a 2 year project in Utah, photographing town with populations of 800 people or less, called "Population 800." This small town documentary has shown throughout Utah and became her senior thesis for graduation. Since those shows have been completed, Armbruster has since traveled extensively to shoot two more projects still being edited. The first in collapsed Soviet towns and the second of Bedouins living in caves in the Arabian Desert. Additionally, Armbruster has blended her documentary interests with her commercial photography degree to work for international clients. Some of these clients have included The Travel Chanel, KT Tape, Blendtec Blenders, The Church of Jesus Christ of Later-Day Saints, Chicago Cultural Center, Petra Caravan Tours, and Bedouin Brothers Tour Group. Armbruster is committed to exploring the world of social change through art. Blending her education of commercial photography with her candid aesthetic, she is able to tell stories and capture people in their natural elements. She is currently based out of Chicago, working as an editorial travel photographer. About Working Identities: The first woman in this series is the inspiration behind this project. As I was walking around the market near my Dominican home, I came across an older woman by the name of Rosa Santana. I photographed her at her vegetable cart, she then grabbed my hand and insisted that I photograph every member of her family in our little community. Leading me inside stores converted out of modest houses and through narrow alleyways into small-enclosed spaces made of stucco with a single mattress inside. Each new home, whether large or small had a family member inside to be photographed. One of her daughters particularly struck me by the way she showed me the objects on the wall illustrating her own three children. As I thought about these seemingly strange dolls and single photograph nailed to the wall, I began to realize how not only do they represent her children, but the different ways we represent and give an identity to the people around us. As I photographed in the Dominican Republic, I began to realize that I was categorizing people, trying to collect one of everything for myself. These people I was collecting were not based on location or look, but rather by profession. I looked for the stereotypical from the butcher to the security guard, but then to the boy who fixes bicycles in front of his house in Santo Domingo and the even younger children who pick coffee beans in the mountains of Jarabacoa. Each of these people have an identity created not by the symbolic objects used to represent them, but rather by an occupation. With this some gain a definition in society, while others are generalized. I chose to explore these occupations not just as types, but rather go deeper to discover each person as individuals. How each person is an individual although they may do the same thing as handfuls of others everyday, how we are all Working Identities.Source: www.christinearmbruster.com Interview With Christine Armbruster: All About Photo: When did you realize you wanted to be a photographer? Christine Armbruster: "It wasn't until I was twenty that I even considered it. I had always wanted to be in filmmaking and it wasn't until I was on my first real film set involving a week of 15-hour days that I decided I should reconsider. So i went with the next closest thing which was photography, and it just kind of stuck." AAP: Do you remember your first shot? What was it? CA: "After my freshman year of college I was inspired by a good friend who studied photography and got my first "good camera". For months I photographed so many close up shots of industrial parts and weird metal things. My first memorable photographs, however, that I really feel like began to develop my style, are a few portraits of train hoppers in Austin, Texas later that summer. I sat on the ground with them and got to know them before asking to photograph their faces covered with tattoos and their accompanying dogs. Ever since I have been a little obsessed with train hoppers and spent handfuls of time with them. It's a surprise to me that I have still yet to hop a train of my own." AAP: What or who inspires you? CA: "Life around me and newness inspires me. There was once a photographer who said that when he stays in one place for too long he goes blind. I feel very similar. I unfortunately never photograph where I live after I have been there for a few months, it is just so common to me. But that is something I am working on so I can practice sitting still for slightly longer stints. He said he hadn't paid rent in 16 years, I feel like that could become my fate which is both exciting and daunting to me." AAP: How could you describe your style? CA: "I would describe my style as very natural and quiet. I am not in your face and not trying to be loud and force heart wrenching subjects on you. I just want things to be as they are, as beautiful and simple as they are in natural light, portraying people are the strong individuals as they are." AAP: What kind of gear do you use? Camera, lens, digital, film? CA: "I try to use film as much as possible. Digital just doesn't do it for me. There is something natural and more real to me when I use film. Maybe it is because I slow down or take the images more seriously. I have a Bronica ETRS medium format camera with a fixed 85mm lens that is always on my back loaded with Kodak Portra film." AAP: Do you spend a lot of time editing your images? CA: "I can't hold still long enough to edit my images! I would rather be shooting than in front of a computer, which is partially why I shoot so much film. When I first started photographing, I got a job with a newspaper. With newspapers heavily editing images will cost you your job. It got me in the practice of shooting right the first time and learning how to shoot without relying on Photoshop to make my images speak." AAP: Favorite(s) photographer(s)? CA: "I am currently really into Jonas Bendiksen and Jim Goldberg. I have always loved Olga Chagaoutdinova, Diane Arbus, and Pierre Verger." AAP: What advice would you give a young photographer? CA: "Shoot all the time! Someone once told me that you need to make a lot of crap before anything good comes out of it." AAP: What mistake should a young photographer avoid? CA: "Following trends. Trends are in my opinion one of the worst things a photographer can follow. Your work will be catchy for a moment then once trends shift you will be left with having to redefine your personal style again only to possibly fall into the same trap. Shoot what you like, it will become your own style. Everyone else is already photographing the trends, try something different. Classic and well done photography will always be in style and you will always have work." AAP: An idea, a sentence, a project you would like to share? CA: "I am currently working on editing a project shot in Jordan about nomads who have been forced into settling but are resisting and moving back to caves and tents as they lived for thousands of years. That is a cool project I worked on all last winter, living in caves, collecting water, and walking with shepherds. That should be a pretty cool project once I get the storyline a little more organized." AAP: Your best memory as a photographer? CA: "I am so sentimental. I feel like every time I travel it was the best place yet, every person I photograph is so beautiful and interesting, and that every situation I have been in was the most idea. I guess that is part of the human experience and the glory of photographing. It is an excuse to walk with nomads, a reason to hitchhike across Russia, a motivation to travel and create. I already have a lifetime of memories and stories for grandchildren, and I am only 5 years into my career." AAP: Your worst souvenir as a photographer? CA: "I have a good handful of scars from not paying attention to where I'm walking while trying to get an image and a broken camera or two from sandstorms I was not prepared for." AAP: If you could have taken the photographs of someone else who would it be? CA: "Pierre Verger. He has such beautiful timeless style and dead perfect tonal ranges. He got to travel the world and experience so many things hands on from the Harlem Renaissance to religious ceremonies from underground cults in Brazil. I think he was working in just the right time and had some of the most guts from any photographer I have ever seen. He wasn't afraid and I love that about him."
Alvaro Ybarra Zavala
Alvaro Ybarra Zavala, is based in Spain. He took up a career in photography while at university, aged 19, focussing on issues of social conflict. He has now exclusively joined the Reportage by Getty Images roster, having previously worked with Agence Vu (December 2005 - March 2009), and as a freelance photographer before that. His key bodies of work to date have included conflict coverage in Chechnya, Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Colombia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uganda, Rwanda, Burma/Myanmar, Sudan, Georgia, and the Central African Republic, post-conflict coverage in the Balkans, HIV/AIDS in Southeast Asia (India, Thailand, Cambodia, Burma/Myanmar) and Africa (Malawi, Gambia, Senegal, Kenya), the tsunami in Banda Aceh & Sri Lanka, indigenous peoples in Bolivia, Brazil and Ecuador, presidential elections in Bolivia, Paraguay & Serbia, and cancer in the third world (Bolivia, Brazil, Peru, Uganda, Iraq and Morocco), all of which are topics close to his heart. As well as working on his own personal projects, he has worked on assignment for TIME, Newsweek, the New York Times, the Sunday Times magazine, Le Monde, Liberation, Vanity Fair, XLsemanal & ABC, L'Espresso, Stern, GEO, EPS, EIGHT, etc. Alvaro has published four books to date, with a fifth scheduled for release in 2010, Apocalipsis. He has exhibited his work internationally, including in the UK ("The Voices of Darfur" at the Royal Albert Hall), in France ("Children of Sorrow" at the Visa Pour l'Image festival in Perpignan), China, Colombia, at the United Nations in New York and Geneva, and in other cities across the US and Spain. Source www.alvaroybarra.com
Pentti Sammallahti
Pentti Sammallahti was born in 1950 in Helsinki, Finland. Growing up, he was surrounded by the works of his grandmother, Hildur Larsson (1882-1952), a Swedish-born photographer, who worked for the Helsinki newspaper Kaiku in the early 1900s. After visiting The Family of Man exhibition at Helsinki Art Hall (1961) Sammallahti made his first photographs at age eleven. Pentti joined the Helsinki Camera Club in 1964. His first solo exhibition was in 1971. Sammallahti has travelled widely as a photographer, from his native Scandinavia, across the Soviet Republics through Siberia, to Japan, India, Nepal, Morocco, Turkey, across Europe and Great Britain, and even to South Africa. Sammallahti’s travels and interest in fine printing and lithography has led him to publish numerous portfolios of which the largest and most well known is “The Russian Way” (1996). As a benchmark figure in contemporary Finnish photography, his work has a supernatural sense of a moment in time with the sensitivity and beauty of the world displayed through its animalistic existence. His particular use of dogs, which reflects the human existential experience, shows the shared nature of the earth with a gentle humor and fleeting attitude. Sammallahti describes himself as a wanderer who likes the nature of the great north, the silence, the cold, and the sea. He likes the people and the animals of far off places and he records the relationships between them and their environment. As a master craftsman, he meticulously tones his prints, which come in various formats, from 4 by 5 inches in image size to panoramas of 6 by 14 inches. In 2010 for his retrospective exhibition in Helsinki he created large format pigment prints, about 9 by 21 inches and 15 by 35.5 inches in size. As a passionate seeker of the perfect mechanical printing method, his own innovative printing techniques and reintroduction of the portfolio form have re-awakened broader interest in published photographic art. Influenced by the idea of ‘artist books’ – individual works in which the artist is responsible for the whole: photography, the making of prints, layout, design and typography, reproduction and often the actual printing process either with the offset or the gravure method. Since 1979, Pentti Sammallahti has published thirteen books and portfolios and has received awards such as the Samuli Paulaharju Prize of the Finnish Literature Society, State Prizes for Photography, Uusimaa Province Art Prize, Daniel Nyblin Prize, and the Finnish Critics Association Annual. From 1974 to 1991 Sammallahti taught at the University of Art and Design in Helsinki, retiring when he received a 15-year grant from the Finnish government, an unusually long endowment, which is no longer awarded. Both as a photographer and a teacher, he has had an enormous influence on a whole generation of documentary photographers in Scandinavia. Sammallahti had a solo exhibition at Paris' Mois de la Photographie in 1996 and another in 1998 at Houston Fotofest, Texas. In 2001 the Helsinki University of Art and Design awarded Pentti Sammallahti the title of Honorary Doctorate in Art. In 2004, the famous French photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson ranked Sammallahti among his 100 favorite photographers for his Foundation's inaugural exhibition in Paris. The French Photo Poche book series published his book edited by Robert Delpire in 2005, and the same year, Sammallahti had a personal exhibition at the International Photography Festival in Arles. His second exhibition at Recontres d'Arles was a major retrospective in 2012 accompanied by the release of the first retrospective monograph Here Far Away, published in six languages (German, French, English, Italian, Spanish, and Finnish). Among museum collections Sammallahti’s work can be found at the Victoria & Albert Museum, London, England; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas, USA; Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris, France; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, the Netherlands; Museum fur Kunst und Gewerbe, Hamburg, Germany; Moderna Museet / Fotografiska Museet, Stockholm, Sweden; and The Finnish State Collections and the Photographic Museum of Finland.Source: Nailya Alexander Gallery Sammallahti has been photographing the world around him with a poetic eye since the age of eleven. At the age of nine he visited "The Family of Man" exhibition at Helsinki Art Hall, confirming at a young age his photographic path in life. Featured in solo exhibitions by the age of 21, Sammallahti continued to exhibit and teach at the Helsinki University of Art and Design until receiving the Finnish State's 15-year artist grant in 1991. Sammallahti describes himself as a nomad who enjoys the nature of the great north: the darkness, the cold, and the sea. Sammallahti is a master craftsman, carefully toning his prints, to create a poetic atmosphere of desolate silence.

 Sammallahti was honored to be included among the 100 favorite photographs in the personal collection of Henri Cartier-Bresson, which was the inaugural exhibition for the Foundation Henri Cartier-Bresson in 2003. Since 1979, Pentti Sammallahti has published thirteen books and portfolios and has received awards such as the Samuli Paulaharju Prize of the Finnish Literature Society, State Prizes for Photography, Uusimaa Province Art Prize, Daniel Nyblin Prize, and the Finnish Critics Association Annual.Source: Peter Fetterman Gallery
Sumit Gupta
India
1983
While a software engineer by profession, Sumit has been capturing and sharing the stories of cities and cultures since 2013. He finds the experience of walking around the city streets with a camera almost therapeutic and meditative. Inspired by the human condition, Sumit has photographed mostly in India and Europe. Sumit's photographs are inspired by a personal desire to find meaning in the world around us and attempt to draw attention to the poetic and inspirational nature of human life all around us. All about the project 'The River' The Kumbh Mela is the largest religious gathering of humans on our planet. Over the two month period that this festival happens, once every 12 years in 4 Indian cities, millions of people come from all over the country (and outside of it) to take an auspicious bath in the holy waters of the river Ganga. I'm interested in portraying how the contemporary experience of the Kumbh Mela is influenced by aspects such as globalization, consumption and current trends of social behavior. People from all over India come to this event as a pilgrimage to wash away their sins, but they're also cohabiting with people that see this as a cultural attraction, as a possibility to experience a foreign culture and filter it through social media. What's the impact of hyper-communication and advertising in the collective atmosphere of this spiritual gathering? The project tries to reflect on those ideas by working through the psychological climate of the different people that are present in the event. The images evidence the paradoxical and complex nature of a spiritual event that feeds on tradition when young people seem to drift away from old collective habits. The river, the sacred area where people transcend their humanity, is the perfect metaphor for the current situation; affected by mass production and consumerism, the polluted river is still worshipped as a place for cleansing; time will tell if the memory that holds this identity will keep flowing through the divine water, or if it will drown to the mirage of pleasures that float in the immediacy of today's world.
Alice De Kruijs
The Netherlands
1981
Alice de Kruijs is a fine-art photographer based in The Netherlands. She frequently touches the subject of identity and diversity and aims to go against the standard ideals and showcase stories through culture and different ethnic backgrounds, her work is a celebration of these differences in culture. As her way of life, she loves to conceptually and symbolically tell stories. Usually by showing a different perspective on personal daily life struggles. Born in 1981 in the east of The Netherlands she grew up in an artistic family. Nevertheless her true artistic passion in photography started in her late twenties. After graduating from Internation Fashion Design and later on from Applied Photography Design with a specialisation in Fine-art portraits she dedicated her life to conceptual photography. In her early thirties she gradually moved to fine-art photography in combination with story telling photography. Family Member(s) In this serie I honour my beloved grandmother. She has been a friend and inspiration my entire life. Although she passed away in 1994, when I was just 13 year old my memories are vibrant. This year (2020), August 2nd she would have celebrated her 100th birthday. On this day, I have publish the complete body of work existing of 18 images plus 10 original images. In some images, I copied the old photo from our family photo books. The story starts with an images from my great grandma before and after pregnancy of her 5 children (see family picture), following with an image of my grandmother at age 3. It continues with images of her when she was a young teenager and as a young adult just before World war II. During the war, not many pictures were taken of her. The first image after WWII is the marriage photo. She struggled with a lot of miscarriages in the late 1940's but finally my father was born in May 1950, I would be her only child. During the 1980's she started having breast cancer and later on bone cancer. After many years trying to fulfill life as much as possible, she died from bone bone cancer at age 74. The last image represents her death. As this is a very personal project and shot during COVID 19 period I only photographed myself or my direct family members for the duo image. This created an even stronger bound. This serie is dedicated to Jeanne Margaretha de Kruijs - Slotboom 02/08/1920 - 14/01/1994
Roger Fenton
United Kingdom
1819 | † 1869
Roger Fenton was a British photographer, noted as one of the first war photographers. He was born into a Lancashire merchant family. After graduating from London with an Arts degree, Fenton became interested in painting and later developed a keen interest in the new technology of photography after seeing early examples at The Great Exhibition in 1851. Within a year, he began exhibiting his own photographs. He became a leading British photographer and instrumental in founding the Photographic Society (later the Royal Photographic Society). It is likely that in autumn 1854, as the Crimean War grabbed the attention of the British public, that some powerful friends and patrons – among them Prince Albert and Duke of Newcastle, Secretary of State for War – urged Roger Fenton to go to the Crimea to record the happenings. The London print publisher Thomas Agnew & Sons became his commercial sponsor. The resulting photographs may have been intended to offset the general unpopularity of the war among the British people, and to counteract the occasionally critical reporting of correspondent William Howard Russell of The Times; the photographs were to be converted into woodblocks and published in the less critical Illustrated London News. He set off aboard HMS Hecla in February, landed at Balaklava on 8 March and remained there until 22 June. Fenton took Marcus Sparling as his photographic assistant, a servant known as William and a large horse-drawn van of equipment. Due to the size and cumbersome nature of his photographic equipment, Fenton was limited in his choice of motifs. Because the photographic material of his time needed long exposures, he was only able to produce pictures of stationary objects, mostly posed pictures; he avoided making pictures of dead, injured or mutilated soldiers. But he also photographed the landscape, including an area near to where the Charge of the Light Brigade – made famous in Tennyson's poem – took place. In letters home soldiers had called the original valley "The Valley of Death", and Tennyson's poem used the same phrase, so when in September 1855 Thomas Agnew put the picture on show, as one of a series of eleven collectively titled Panorama of the Plateau of Sebastopol in Eleven Parts in a London exhibition, he took the troops'—and Tennyson's—epithet, expanded it as The Valley of the Shadow of Death with its deliberate evocation of Psalm 23, and assigned it to the piece; it is not the location of the famous charge, which took place in a long, broad valley several miles to the south-east. Despite summer high temperatures, breaking several ribs in a fall, suffering from cholera and also becoming depressed at the carnage he witnessed at Sevastopol, in all Fenton managed to make over 350 usable large format negatives. An exhibition of 312 prints was soon on show in London and at various places across the nation in the months that followed. Fenton also showed them to Queen Victoria and Prince Albert and also to Emperor Napoleon III in Paris. Nevertheless, sales were not as good as expected. Despite the lack of commercial success for his Crimean photographs, Fenton later travelled widely over Britain to record landscapes and still life images. However, as time moved on, photography became more accessible to the general public. Many people sought to profit from selling quick portraits to common people. It is likely that Fenton, from a wealthy background, disdained 'trade' photographers, but nevertheless still wanted to profit from the art by taking exclusive images and selling them at good prices. He thus fell into conflict with many of his peers who genuinely needed to make money from photography and were willing to 'cheapen their art' (as Fenton saw it), and also with the Photographic Society, who believed that no photographer should soil himself with the 'sin' of exploiting his talent commercially in any manner. Amongst Fenton's photographs from this period are the City of Westminster, including The Palace of Westminster nearing completion in 1857 – almost certainly the earliest images of the building, and the only photographs showing the incomplete Clock Tower. In 1858 Fenton made studio genre studies based on romantically imaginative ideas of Muslim life, such as Seated Odalisque, using friends and models who were not always convincing in their roles. Although well known for his Crimean War photography, his photographic career lasted little more than a decade, and in 1862 he abandoned the profession entirely, selling his equipment and returned to the law as a barrister. Although becoming almost forgotten by the time of his death seven years later he was later formally recognized by art historians for his pioneering work and artistic endeavour. In 1862 the organizing committee for the International Exhibition in London announced its plans to place photography, not with the other fine arts as had been done in the Manchester Art Treasures Exhibition only five years earlier, but in the section reserved for machinery, tools and instruments – photography was considered a craft, for tradesmen. For Fenton and many of his colleagues, this was conclusive proof of photography's diminished status, and the pioneers drifted away. He died 8 August 1869 at his home in Potters Bar, Middlesex after a week-long illness – he was 50 years old. His wife died in 1886. Their graves were destroyed in 1969 when the Potters Bar church where they were buried was deconsecrated and demolished.Source: Wikipedia Roger Fenton is a towering figure in the history of photography, the most celebrated and influential photographer in England during the medium’s “golden age” of the 1850s. Before taking up the camera, he studied law in London and painting in Paris. He traveled to Russia in 1852 and photographed the landmarks of Kiev and Moscow; founded the Photographic Society (later designated the Royal Photographic Society) in 1853; was appointed the first official photographer of the British Museum in 1854; achieved widespread recognition for his photographs of the Crimean War in 1855; and excelled throughout the decade as a photographer in all the medium’s genres—architecture, landscape, portraiture, still life, reportage, and tableau vivant. Fenton’s most widespread acclaim came in 1855, with photographs of the Crimean War, a conflict in which British, French, Sardinian, and Turkish troops battled Russia’s attempt to expand its influence into European territory of the Ottoman empire. Fenton was commissioned by the Manchester publisher Thomas Agnew & Sons to travel to the Crimea and document the war, and his mission was encouraged by the government, which hoped that his photographs would reassure a worried public. Fenton’s extensive documentation of the war—the first such use of photography—included pictures of the port of Balaklava, the camps, the terrain of battle, and portraits of officers, soldiers, and support staff of the various allied armies. Perhaps inspired by the experience of traveling through Constantinople en route to Balaklava, or perhaps simply sharing the mid-nineteenth-century vogue for all things exotic, Fenton produced a theatrical suite of Orientalist compositions during the summer of 1858—costume pieces that strove for high art rather than documentation and that were, in a sense, an antidote to the harsh realities he had recorded in the Crimea. They owed as much to the paintings of Delacroix and Ingres as to Fenton’s own experience in the East. In 1862, after a final series of photographs—a remarkable group of lush still lifes—Fenton sold his equipment and negatives, resigned from the Royal Photographic Society, and returned to the bar. In the course of a single decade, Fenton had played a pivotal role—by advocacy and example—in demonstrating that photography could rival drawing and painting not only as a means of conveying information, but also as a medium of visual delight and powerful expression.Source: Metropolitan Museum of Art
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