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Ansel Adams
© J. Malcolm Greany
Ansel Adams
Ansel Adams

Ansel Adams

Country: United States
Birth: 1902 | Death: 1984

American photographer and environmentalist known for his black and white photographs of the American West in Sierra Nevada and in Yosemite National Park.

Ansel Easton Adams was born in 1902 in an upper-class family. His family migrated from Ireland in the early 1700s. He was the only child of Charles and Olive Adams. His paternal grandfather founded a successful lumber business, which was later run by Ansel’s father. His mother’s family came from Baltimore. His maternal grandfather had a successful Freight-Hauling business, but squandered his wealth in numerous investment ventures. His nose was broken and scared during the San Francisco earthquake of 1906 as an aftershock threw him up against a wall. After the death of his grandfather the family business was hit by the bank crisis of 1907 and by 1912, his family’s standard of living had been dearly impacted.

Ansel was a hyperactive child prone to sickness. After being expelled from several schools due to his restlessness, at age 12, his father decided to tutor him at home with the help of professors and Ansel’s aunt.

He soon became interested in music and started learning the piano, but all changed when aged 14, his aunt gave him a copy of “In the Heart of the Sierras”. The photographs by Georges Fiske were a revelation and Ansel persuaded his parents to visit Yosemite National Park during the following vacations. Equiped with a Kodak Box Brownie n°1, Ansel Adams first visited Yosemite National Park in 1916. Amazed by the site and the light, he returned to Yosemite National Park the following year with better cameras and a tripod. He will return regularly to Yosemite National Park where he will even meet his future wife, Virginia Best. At age 17, Adams joined the Sierra Club, a wildlife preservation group. He will remain a convinced environmentalist and a member of the Sierra Club his entire life. His work will promote the goals of the Sierra Club and bring environmental issues to light. In 1932, Adams founded the group f/64 with photographer friend Edward Weston, to promote their independent and modernist vision of photography. It is with Fred Archer that Adams will develop the Zone System (1939-40), a technique which allows photographers to define the proper exposure on negatives and adjust the contrasts on the prints. The depth and clarity of Ansel Adam’s photographs illustrate this technique. Initially, despite their size and weight, Ansel Adams used large format cameras as they offered a high resolution and a sharp image.

The timeless photographs and the striking visual beauty clearly characterize Ansel Adams’ photographs. In 1952, he was also one of the founders of Aperture magazine. He died in 1984 from a cardio Vascular disease. Shortly after his death in 1984, the Minarets Wilderness in the Inyo National Forest was renamed the Ansel Adams Wilderness. In 1985, a peak in Sierra Nevada, was named Mount Ansel Adams. He was survived by his wife, two children and 5 grand children.
 

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More Great Photographers To Discover

Sandra Tamos
Lithuania
1989
Since my childhood I was attracted to visual arts, painting mostly. I had a dream to become a fashion costume designer when I grow up. When I was 14 things changed. I didn’t lose my passion for painting, but the camera my dad gave me drew me into photography. Since then I started taking self-portraits and gained some photography experience. Later I started reading books about photography and wasn’t taking any pictures for the time being. When I was 18 I bought my first digital camera and started taking pictures of nature. I became addicted to macrophotography, as the camera revealed worlds unseen by a naked eye. When I graduated from school I studied, Technology of photography at Vilnius University of Applied Engineering Sciences, and obtained a Photo Journalist bachelor degree. In photography my most beloved avenues are portrait and dance photography, especially ballet. Ballet for me is something above reality, something spiritual, fantastic. In photos I try to show ballet, the way I see and feel it. I try to create pictures which remind fairy tales or dreams, which look out of this world.All about Sandra Tamos:AAP: When did you realize you wanted to be a photographer?Before graduating, as I remember. It's hard to say what led me to like it. it simply drew me. I never wanted to, but I suppose it was my destiny to become a photographer.AAP: Where did you study photography?Vilnius College of Technologies and Design, Lithuania.AAP:Do you have a mentor?NoAAP: How long have you been a photographer?Since my first shot, five years aproximatelyAAP: Do you remember your first shot? What was it?The first digital photo was a dandelion fluff with water drops. However my absolutely first picture was self-portrait, photographed with old russian film camera, when I was 14.AAP: What or who inspires you?Little bits of everything, I would have to write a book to metnion everything what inspires me, so I will save your time and will only mention few key sources of inspiration. Life, from germination/birth to blossom and so on. Water, in all forms. Fog, tiny drops on leaves or spider web, rain, ponds, rivers.AAP: How could you describe your style?Sensual, mystical, darkly romantic.AAP: What kind of gear do you use? Camera, lens, digital, film?I use Pentax K-5 digital camera, and my favorite lenes are SMC Pentax A 50 f/1,7 and Sigma 30 f/1,4.AAP: Do you spend a lot of time editing your images?Yes, it takes skill and time to turn diamonds into brilliants, same with photos. But I enjoy the process so I dont mind if it takes time.AAP: Favorite(s) photographer(s)?Too many to mention all of them. Lately especially admire Gregory Colbert creation.AAP: What advice would you give a young photographer?Learn how to operate the camera perfectly, theres nothing worse than perfect moment slipping away, or when a moment that was felt right for a perfect picture, ends in dissapointment of failing to freeze it in camera, when it simply doesnt look the way it had to and the way it was perceived.AAP: What mistake should a young photographer avoid?Loosing faith, should be avoided.
Hendrik Kerstens
Netherlands
1956
Since 1995, Dutch photographer Hendrik Kerstens has been photographing his daughter, Paula. His photographs have been collected by museums around the world and have inspired taste-makers as diverse as Elton John and Alexander McQueen. (McQueen, in fact based his Fall 2009 collection on Kerstens' image of Paula with a plastic bag as a head-dress, using the image as his invitation for the show.) Initially Kerstens' photographs were created out of the artist's desire to capture something of the fleeting moments that fade of childhood. The pictures recorded everyday events – his daughter's sunburn, the child's bath. However, one day there was a moment of revelation when Kerstens not only saw her in relation to the events of her own life, but also projected on her his interest in the Dutch painters of the seventeenth century.
 As Kerstens recalls, "One day Paula came back from horseback riding. She took off her cap and I was struck by the image of her hair held together by a hair-net. It reminded me of the portraits by the Dutch masters and I portrayed her in that fashion. After that I started to do more portraits in which I refer to the paintings of that era. The thing that fascinates me in particular is the way a seventeenth-century painting is seen as a surface which can be read as a description of everyday life as opposed to the paintings of the Italian renaissance, which usually tell a story. Northern European painting relies much more on craftsmanship and the perfect rendition of the subject. The use of light is instrumental in this." A number of the portraits of Paula are clearly reminiscent of Johannes Vermeer. The austerity of the photograph, its clarity, the serene expression on the young girl's face, and not least, the characteristic "Dutch" light, all combine to create this impression.
 However, Kerstens was not just imitating painting. As the series progressed, he became increasingly interested in the game of creating a conceptual and humorous dialog between past and present. The titles give the game away. "Napkin" looks like a maid's bonnet. In "Bag", a plastic grocery bag is shaped to look like a lace hood. In other pictures no pretense is made to imitate 17th century clothing but Paula's face and Kerstens' light turn a thoroughly modern hoodie into a classic and timeless garment. Conceptually, Kerstens' photographs play with the dialog between the mediums of painting and photography, with seriality, and time. On a more emotional level, they address everyday reality while expressing his love for his child, and the knowledge and development of his craft.Source: Danziger Gallery Hendrik Kerstens' (1956) oeuvre consists of a consequent sequence of portraits from his muse, his daughter, each time with a different angle, meaning or purpose. In the hemisphere of the radically realist paintings of the Dutch Golden Age, Kerstens explores the photograph as a surface, a platform to study contemporary ordinary objects and its meaning in historical tradition. With his typical selection for down-to-earth forms of headwear, from a napkin, a wet towel, spheres of lace to folded aluminium foil, he recalls how daily life has always been an integral subject of art, whether in the 17th or in 21st century. With his clear ambition to illustrate the dialogue between history and contemporary life, rich and sober, functional and valuable, Kerstens also accomplishes to renew and contemporize history while boosting the position and function of day-to-day objects. In connecting todays photography techniques with the camera obscura techniques in earlier times, Kerstens raises awareness for the use and development of the photographic process. It is not accidental that he is a state-of-the-art perfectionist, taking nothing for granted and giving a lot of attention to the work process. The printing proces itself, the hardly visible transition of the many dark tones, the interplay of light and shadow, Kerstens dedicates himself completely in refining the image, where details and the way of looking play a key role. Kerstens, who worked many times with Kathy Ryan from The New York Times Magazine, was awarded the PANL award (2001) in the Netherlands; the Taylor Wesing Photographic Portrait Prize (2008) at the National Portrait Gallery in London, the silver LeadAward Medaillon, Porträtfotografie des Jahres (2010) in Germany and the 11th Lucie Award (2013). Kerstens work and ideas were included in Alexander McQueen's spectacular show The Horn of Plenty: Everyting but the Kitchen Sink, a retrospective on 15 shocking years in fashion.Source: Flatland Gallery Galleries:   Danziger Gallery   Jenkins Johnson Gallery   Dean Project   Flatland Gallery
Joseph Koudelka
Czech Republic
1938
Josef Koudelka was born in 1938 in Boskovice, Moravia. He began photographing his family and the surroundings with a 6 x 6 Bakelite camera. He studied at the Czech Technical University in Prague (CVUT) between 1956 and 1961, receiving a Degree in Engineering in 1961. He staged his first photographic exhibition the same year. Later he worked as an aeronautical engineer in Prague and Bratislava. He began taking commissions from theatre magazines, and regularly photographed stage productions at Prague's Theatre Behind the Gate on a Rolleiflex camera. In 1967, Koudelka decided to give up his career in engineering for full-time work as a photographer. He had returned from a project photographing gypsies in Romania just two days before the Soviet invasion, in August 1968. He witnessed and recorded the military forces of the Warsaw Pact as they invaded Prague and crushed the Czech reforms. Koudelka's negatives were smuggled out of Prague into the hands of the Magnum agency, and published anonymously in The Sunday Times Magazine under the initials P. P. (Prague Photographer) for fear of reprisal to him and his family. His pictures of the events became dramatic international symbols. In 1969 the "anonymous Czech photographer" was awarded the Overseas Press Club's Robert Capa Gold Medal for photographs requiring exceptional courage. With Magnum to recommend him to the British authorities, Koudelka applied for a three-month working visa and fled to England in 1970, where he applied for political asylum and stayed for more than a decade. In 1971 he joined Magnum Photos. A nomad at heart, he continued to wander around Europe with his camera and little else. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Koudelka sustained his work through numerous grants and awards, and continued to exhibit and publish major projects like Gypsies (1975) and Exiles (1988). Since 1986, he has worked with a panoramic camera and issued a compilation of these photographs in his book Chaos in 1999. Koudelka has had more than a dozen books of his work published, including most recently in 2006 the retrospective volume Koudelka. Koudelka has won awards such as the Prix Nadar (1978), a Grand Prix National de la Photographie (1989), a Grand Prix Cartier-Bresson (1991), and the Hasselblad Foundation International Award in Photography (1992). Significant exhibitions of his work have been held at the Museum of Modern Art and the International Center of Photography, New York; the Hayward Gallery, London; the Stedelijk Museum of Modern Art, Amsterdam; and the Palais de Tokyo, Paris. He and his work received support and acknowledgment from his friend the French photographer, Henri Cartier-Bresson. He was also supported by the Czech art historian Anna Farova. In 1987 Koudelka became a French citizen, and was able to return to Czechoslovakia for the first time in 1991. He then produced Black Triangle, documenting his country's wasted landscape. Koudelka resides in France and Prague and is continuing his work documenting the European landscape. He has two daughters and a son. Source: Wikipedia
Deb Schwedhelm
United States
Born in Detroit, Michigan, Deb Schwedhelm was originally trained as a Registered Nurse and subsequently spent 10 years employed as an Air Force Nurse. Although she has been passionate about photography since her early 20s, it wasn't until Deb left the military that she was able to pursue the medium as a full-time career.Deb's photographs have been exhibited widely and featured in numerous publications throughout the world. She has received awards from Photolucida, Portland, OR; PhotoNOLA, New Orleans, LA; MPLS Photo Center, Minneapolis, MN; The Perfect Exposures Gallery, Los Angeles, CA; A. Smith Gallery, Johnson City, TX; Santa Fe Photographic Workshops, Santa Fe, NM; and The Art of Photography Show, San Diego, CA. Her photographs have also been selected for the permanent collection of The Center for Fine Art Photography, Fort Collins, CO.Deb is married to a Naval Explosive Ordnance Disposal Officer and she is the mother to three children, who are often the subjects of her photographs. Deb is currently based in Tampa, Florida and will be moving to Yokosuka, Japan summer 2014. All about Deb Schwedhelm:AAP: Where did you study photography?I purchased a DSLR and began teaching myself photography in 2006. Prior to that, I was a Registered Nurse in the U.S. Air Force for 10 years.AAP: Do you have a mentor or role model?Jock Sturges has been mentoring me for the past few years and I'm so grateful for all that he has shared with me.AAP: Do you remember your first shot? What was it?While I don't remember my first shot (because I was too busy trying to learn photography at that time), I do remember my first commissioned portrait session. It was with a family that lived down the street. One of the photographs (boxer boy) still remains one of my favorites, especially remembering back to how new I was to photography.AAP: What or who inspires you?As cliche as it may sound, I truly draw so much inspiration from my children. My middle child (10 yo) very much gets me. When I take her out to photograph, I leave with a vision and a plan, but based on her actions, I typically end up dumping any plan that I had and we just mesh with one another. She'll tell you that I often say to her, "just keep doing what you're doing." I also am very much inspired by dance and music.AAP: How could you describe your style?Raw, real and emotive.AAP: What kind of gear do you use? Camera, lens, digital, film?Above water: Nikon D3S, 35mm f/1.4, 50mm f/1.4 and 85mm f/1.8In the water: SPL housing,Nikon D700 and a 35mm f/2.0.AAP: Do you spend a lot of time editing your images? For what purpose?No, I don't really spend a lot of time editing my digital images. I do my best to get it right in camera, which makes the editing process very simple. I work mostly in Lightroom but I do bring my black and white images into Photoshop for a bit of fine-tuning. Basically, I want my editing to look pure, while gently enhancing the overall essence and feeling of the photograph.AAP: Favorite(s) photographer(s)?Sally Mann, Jock Sturges and Mary Ellen Mark have been my favorites from the very beginning.AAP: What advice would you give a young photographer?Work to master your technique -- and your artistry. Work really hard. Be dedicated, committed and determined. Never stop exploring, reflecting, learning and growing. Have patience. Know that the journey of photography is not always an easy one, but it is an absolutely amazing one. Be authentic and make genuine connections. Remember to be grateful, kind and giving. Do your best and don't ever give up!AAP: What mistake should a young photographer avoid?The greatest gifts a photographer could give themselves is allowing time and being patient. AAP: An idea, a sentence, a project you would like to share?I would love to share a couple of photography projects that I recently learned about and am inspired by...I had the opportunity to take a workshop from Mary Ellen Mark and I'm greatly inspired by her work and authenticity (both professionally and personally). She and her husband recently launched a kickstarter campaign, which I am thrilled to support: STREETWISE: Tiny RevisitedAnd 'The Return' kickstarter is another project I am happy to support. It is so incredibly beautiful and heartfelt: The return: Book ProjectLove these words shared in the project video: "State the intention for spirit to be present in your finished object, it will be. My soul need these images."AAP: What are your projects?For the past few years, I have been working on my 'From the Sea' series. This summer, I am planning to travel the US for a few months and will not only be photographing in various bodies of water across the US, I am also planning to launch a new project. While I'm not quite ready to release details of my new project, I hope you'll stay tuned.AAP: Your best memory as a photographer?Wow, that's a tough question. Receiving that first message from Jock Sturges was pretty darn amazing and winning photoNOLA was such an incredible gift. I never saw either coming.AAP: The compliment that touched you most?Every compliment greatly touches me. I truly am so appreciative for all that others share with me.AAP: If you were someone else who would it be?I'm quite happy being me and can't imagine being anyone else. AAP: Your favorite photo book?Oh how I love photography books. I have so many that proudly grace my bookshelves -- books which I've collected over the years. Sally Mann's Immediate Family was the first photography book I owned so it's pretty special. I also had the opportunity to have Sally Mann sign my books last summer, while attending her talk at the University of Michigan.AAP: Anything else you would like to share?No matter what your personal journey, don't be afraid to dream and dream big -- you just never know what's possible with a little dreaming and a lot of hard work. Don't forget the importance of authenticity and don't ever forget to share your gratitude with those who have assisted you.Thank you so much for this wonderful opportunity to share. This has been the most amazing journey and I'm beyond grateful.
Helmut Newton
Germany/Australia
1920 | † 2004
Helmut Newton, a German-Jewish/Australian fashion photographer, is best known for his fashion and female nude studies. Born Helmut Neustadter in Berlin, Germany on Oct. 31, 1920, Newton attended both German and American schools. Newton's proclivity for the unusual, particularly in sexual contexts, is attributed to his early years, when his older brother showed him the "red light" (prostitute) district of Berlin. This early exposure would later lead him to create photographic studies that altered the course of fashion photography. In 1936, Newton left a floundering school career to apprentice under German photographer Else Neulander Simon (known professionally as Yva). Under political pressure, Else, also a Jew, was forced to close her studio, and in 1938, Newton himself fled Germany for Singapore. Here he worked briefly as a photographer for the Singapore Strait Times until he made another move, this time to Melbourne, Australia. During World War II Newton served with the Australian army as a truck driver, then decided to follow his dream, opening his first photography studio in 1946. Two years later he married actress June Browne and gained his Australian citizenship. Newton's initial photography work was standard of the time, primarily comprising weddings, baby portraits and mail order catalogs. But in 1952 his big break came when he began working for fashion-iconic Australian Vogue magazine. In 1956 Newton partnered with Henry Talbot and gave his studio a new name: Helmut Newton and Henry Talbot. By the late 1950s, Newton's reputation as a photographer was growing. He left for London on assignment in 1959 and eventually landed in Paris in 1961. From this new locale, his work appeared nationally and internationally in such magazines as Elle, Marie Claire, Playboy and French Vogue. During this time Newton's photography style began to emerge as covertly sexual, even hinting occasionally at the fetishistic. Throughout the 1960s Newton's celebrity status brought him increasingly exotic assignments. Then, following a heart attack in 1971, Newton's work took on new purpose. He began to openly explore sexual themes, rocking the photography world and capturing interest around the globe. Newton's wife, June, is said to have encouraged him in this new career course as he began to depict women in increasingly aggressive and sometimes menacing roles. The 1978 horror classic "The Eyes of Laura Mars" was influenced directly by Newton's work. Newton was the recipient of a number of honors, including Germany's Kodak Award for Photographic Books, the Tokyo Art Director's Club prize and an American Institute of Graphic Arts award. He was also recognized by the French and German governments. Life magazine honored Newton with the Life Legend Award for Lifetime Achievement in Magazine Photography in 1999. In 2003, Newton donated a large photo collection to the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation in Berlin, the land of his birth. The collection remains there today. Newton continued to travel during his waning years, primarily alternating between Los Angeles and Monte Carlo. He died on Jan. 24, 2004, in an automobile accident. His ashes are buried in his home city of Berlin.
Maria Svarbova
Slovakia
1988
Maria Svarbova was born in 1988; she currently lives in Slovakia. Despite studying restoration and archeology, her preferred artistic medium is photography. From 2010 to the present, the immediacy of Maria's photographic instinct continues to garner international acclaim and is setting new precedents in photographic expression. The recipient of several prestigious awards, her solo and group exhibitions have placed her among the vanguard of her contemporaries, attracting features in Vogue, Forbes, The Guardian, and publications around the world; her work is frequently in the limelight of social media. Maria's reputation also earned her a commission for a billboard-sized promotion on the massive Taipei 101 tower, in Taiwan. Maria's distinctive style departs from traditional portraiture and focuses on experimentation with space, colour, and atmosphere. Taking an interest in Socialist era architecture and public spaces, Maria transforms each scene with a modern freshness that highlights the depth and range of her creative palette. The human body throughout her oeuvre is more or less a peripheral afterthought, often portrayed as aloof and demure rather than substantive. Carefully composed figures create thematic, dream-like scenes with ordinary objects. Her images hold a silent tension that hint at emergent possibilities under the lilt of clean and smooth surfaces. There is often a sense of cool detachment and liminality in Maria's work. Routine actions such as exercise, doctor appointments, and domestic tasks are reframed with a visual purity that is soothing and symmetrical and at times reverberant with an ethereal stillness. The overall effect evokes a contemplative silence in an extended moment of promise and awareness—a quality difficult to achieve in the rapid pace of modern life. Maria's postmodern vision boldly articulates a dialog that compels the viewer to respond to the mystery, loneliness, and isolation of the human experience. Nevertheless, deeply embedded within the aqueous pastels, Maria's compositions hold to a celebratory elegance that transforms the viewer's gaze into an enduring reverence for life's simple beauty. Hasselblad Master 2018 Forbes 30 under 30 Winner of International Photography Awards 2016 All about Swimming Pool In the Swimming Pool is Maria's largest series yet, originating in 2014 and continuing to develop to date. Sparked by a hunt for interesting location, her fascination with the space of public swimming pools contributed to developing her visual style. Sterile, geometric beauty of old pools set the tone for these photographs. Each of them pictures a different pool, usually built in the Socialist Era, in various locations in Slovakia. There is almost cinematographic quality to the highly controlled sceneries that Maria captures. The figures are mid-movement, but there is no joyful playfulness to them. Frozen in the composition, the swimmers are as smooth and cold as the pools tiles. The colours softly vibrate in a dream-like atmosphere. Despite the retro setting, the pictures somehow evoke a futuristic feeling as well, as if they were taken somewhere completely alien. There is no disturbing emotion, there is no individuality in their stillness. The artificial detachment, created by Maria's visual vision, allows unique visual pleasure, unattainable in real life.
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