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Olivia Milani
Olivia Milani
Olivia Milani

Olivia Milani

Country: Switzerland
Birth: 1984

Artist and photographer Olivia Milani has been captivated by images and the power of visual language since she can remember.
Olivia studied photography at Central Saint Martins in London, graduating with a Postgraduate degree in Photography.
Through her curious, inquisitive and lyrical looking, she creates subtle, open narratives that usually develop into long term projects. Travel is an important source of inspiration for her work. As much as representing outer places or destinations, her dreamlike images conjure inner landscapes suggestive of internal states and the fluidity of emotions.
Partly constructed, partly simply observed or gathered as they happen in the moment, her images are often situations encountered by chance which she then invests with symbolism, mythological and literary references.
Her work has been exhibited internationally and she has enjoyed collaborations with many gifted artists. Growing up in the context of a multicultural background in the Italian speaking region of Switzerland, she lives and works in London, England and feels at home in the world.
Olivia sees photography as a tool for outer and inner exploration and discovery. Approaching her work with serious playfulness, she likes to let its meaning unfold.

Eastern Winds
Eastern Winds is about a journey of tracing my roots and reconnecting the fragmented aspects of my family past. It all started when I opened an old suitcase filled with photographs and letters - the remnants of my grandmother Lydia's life in Russia. The photographs were mainly portraits from 19th and 20th century Russia. Their soulful and enigmatic quality captured me immediately and led me on a voyage, first inner and imaginary, and eventually outer - like following a river back to it's source, I decided to travel to Russia.

Starting in Moscow, I crossed the country by land, from West to East, travelling along the Trans-Siberian railway route all the way to Siberia, that to me felt like the far northern edges of the world. As I was travelling through the immense vastness of the endless Russian plains, I was imagining the lives and destinies of my ancestors. A great stillness stretched around me and it felt as if the limitlessness of these landscapes was re-shaping my inner geography, linking me back to the continuum of my ancestral connections.

My grandmother Lydia was born in Moscow to a Russian mother and Swiss father. All I know is that during the time of the political turmoil of the Russian Revolution her family got torn apart and she had to flee Russia over night. She was 20 and travelled to Switzerland on a cargo train with one sister. She never saw her family and homeland again.

These images are a way of weaving back together the broken threads of my family history - a tapestry composed of lost and found family photographs, untold stories and memories half vanished through time.
An act of remembrance and a way of reappropriating my family history and transnational heritage.
Blending the pictures I took during the journey with the photographs of my ancestors is an attempt of linking past and present together, one family member to another, one generation to another. Reconnecting to the ancestors returns us to the river of life that flows from the past into the present moment to nourish us.
 

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More Great Photographers To Discover

George Hoyningen-Huene
United States/France
1900 | † 1968
Baron George Hoyningen-Huene was a seminal fashion photographer of the 1920s and 1930s. He was born in Russia to Baltic German and American parents and spent his working life in France, England, and the United States. Born in Saint Petersburg, Russia, on September 4, 1900, Hoyningen-Huene was the only son of Baron Barthold Theodor Hermann (Theodorevitch) von Hoyningen-Huene (1859-1942), a Baltic nobleman, military officer, and lord of Navesti manor (near Võhma), and his wife, Emily Anne "Nan" Lothrop (1860-1927), a daughter of George Van Ness Lothrop, an American minister to Russia. (The couple was married in Detroit, Michigan, in 1888.) He had two sisters. Helen (died 1976) became a fashion designer in France and the United States, using the name Helen de Huene. Elizabeth (1891-1973), also known as Betty, also became a fashion designer (using the name Mme. Yteb in the 1920s and 1930s) and married, first, Baron Wrangel, and, second, Lt. Col. Charles Norman Buzzard, a British Army officer. During the Russian Revolution, the Hoyningen-Huenes fled to first London, and later Paris. By 1925 George had already worked his way up to chief of photography of the French Vogue. In 1931 he met Horst, the future photographer, who became his lover and frequent model and traveled to England with him that winter. While there, they visited photographer Cecil Beaton, who was working for the British edition of Vogue. In 1931, Horst began his association with Vogue, publishing his first photograph in the French edition of Vogue in November of that year. In 1935 Hoyningen-Huene moved to New York City where he did most of his work for Harper's Bazaar. He published two art books on Greece and Egypt before relocating to Hollywood, where he earned his wedge by shooting glamorous portraits for the film industry. Hoyningen-Huene worked in huge studios and with whatever lighting worked best. Beyond fashion, he was a master portraitist as well from Hollywood stars to other celebrities. He also worked in Hollywood in various capacities in the film industry, working closely with George Cukor, notably as a special visual and color consultant for the 1954 Judy Garland movie A Star Is Born. He served a similar role for the 1957 film Les Girls, which starred Kay Kendall and Mitzi Gaynor, the Sophia Loren film Heller in Pink Tights, and The Chapman Report. In 1952 his cousin Baron Ernst Lyssardt von Hoyningen-Huene, whom he had adopted, married Nancy Oakes, the daughter of the gold mining tycoon Sir Harry Oakes. That union lasted until 1956 and produced one son Baron Alexander von Hoyningen-Huene, also known as Sasha. He died at 68 years of age in Los Angeles. Source: Wikipedia
Zev Hoover
United States
1999
Zev Hoover, from Natick, Massachusetts, goes by the Flickr username Fiddle Oak, a play on 'little folk', which adequately describes the incredible images that make up his 'miniature world'. In his fantastical photos in which people are digitally shrunken, acorns make excellent seats, Popsicle sticks are the ideal size for building rafts, and paper airplanes are viable modes of transport. Zev told Today.com that while he takes the photos with his own camera, his older sister Nell, 18, was the brains behind the original tiny people concept. "She is sort of my partner in crime," he said, adding that she is "more of a writer". While Nell may have come up with the idea, Zev executes the images beautifully, and his unique work has attracted the attention of professional photographers and designers. The 14-year-old, who also writes a blog, explained the complicated process of how he creates his dreamlike images, many of which feature him as the main subject. The process involves capturing the background image first, shrinking photos of people in similar lighting, manipulating the images in Photoshop and editing the color scheme so that it all matches. 'It takes a long time,' he said of the resulting images, which are so otherworldly that they almost look like drawings. One image shows a boy constructing a house of playing cards, his body the same size as the cards. In another image, a 'miniature' boy and girl sit upon a raft made of Popsicle sticks, the sail of which is a single leaf. Many of Zev's images explore nature, including one in which a boy perches inside the shell of an acorn. Another nature-themed photo, which plays with and distorts size ratio, shows a miniscule-looking boy sitting on the edge of a rock, a violin in his hand. Photography and design websites have picked up on Zev's work, lauding him for being so talented and creative at such a young age.Source: www.dailymail.co.uk
Peter van Agtmael
United States
1981
Peter van Agtmael (born 1981) is a documentary photographer based in New York. Since 2006 he has concentrated on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and their consequences in the United States. He is a member of Magnum Photos. Van Agtmael's photo essays have been published in The New York Times Magazine, TIME Magazine, The New Yorker and The Guardian. He has published three books. His first, 2nd Tour Hope I Don't Die, was published by Photolucida as a prize for winning their Critical Mass Book Award. He received a W. Eugene Smith Grant from the W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund to complete his second book, Disco Night Sept. 11. His third, Buzzing at the Sill, was published by Kehrer Verlag in 2016. He has twice received awards from World Press Photo, the Infinity Award for Young Photographer from the International Center of Photography and a grant from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. Van Agtmael was born in Washington D.C. and grew up in Bethesda, Maryland. He studied history at Yale, graduating in 2003. He became a nominee member of Magnum Photos in 2008, an associate member in 2011, and a full member in 2013. After graduation he received a fellowship to live in China for a year and document the consequences of the Three Gorges Dam. He has covered HIV-positive refugees in South Africa; the Asian tsunami in 2005; humanitarian relief efforts after Hurricane Katrina's effects on New Orleans in 2005 and after the 2010 Haiti earthquake, the filming of the first season of TV series Treme on location in New Orleans in 2010; the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010, Hurricane Sandy in 2012 and its aftermath, Nabi Salih and Halamish in the West Bank in 2013 and the 2014 Israel–Gaza conflict and its aftermath. Since 2006 he has concentrated on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and their consequences in the United States. He first visited Iraq in 2006 at age 24 and has returned to Iraq and Afghanistan a number of times, embedded with US military troops. Later he continued to investigate the effects of those wars within the US. In 2007 his portfolio from Iraq and Afghanistan won the Monograph Award (softbound) in Photolucida's Critical Mass Book Award. As part of the prize Photolucida published his first book, 2nd Tour, Hope I Don’t Die. With work made between January 2006 and December 2008, this "is a young photojournalist’s firsthand experience: the wars’ effects on him, on the soldiers and on the countries involved." The 2012 W. Eugene Smith Grant for Humanistic Photography provided $30,000 to work on his second book, Disco Night Sept. 11, which "chronicles the lives of the soldiers he has met in the field and back home."Source: Wikipedia
Charles Scowen
United Kingdom
1852 | † 1948
Charles Thomas Scowen (11 March 1852 – 24 November 1948) was a British photographer during the nineteenth century. He was active as a photographer from 1871 to 1890, working in Sri Lanka and British India in the early 1870s. By 1876 Scowen had established a studio, Scowen & Co, in Kandy and by the 1890s, he had opened a second in Colombo. His work, which included landscapes and portraits of Malay women, is noted for its lighting, technically superior printing, and strong compositional qualities. Scowen's photographs are represented in the collections of the J. Paul Getty Museum, Yale University Art Gallery, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Charles Scowen became a tea planter before retiring and returning to England around the turn of the century. He died in Sudbury, Suffolk, aged 96.Source: Wikipedia Described as the Pearl of the Indian Ocean, the island Ceylon was conquered by the English in 1796 and for many years was at the center of the spice and trade routes. Rich in ivory, cinnamon, coffee, tea, gems, and pearls the island became increasingly accessible during the nineteenth century. Its exotic scenery was well documented by commercial photographers throughout the nineteenth century. One of the most accomplished and successful photographic firms working in Ceylon was Charles T. Scowen and Co. Scowen and his team produced records for the tourist market, as well as for commerce and industry. These documents included images of plantation economies, railroad, native people, architectural city views, and ancient ruins. The photographs are of superior quality, representing the rich beauty and detail found only in an albumen print.Source: Joseph Bellows Gallery
Peter Lindbergh
Germany
1944 | † 2019
Peter Lindbergh, born Peter Brodbeck, is a German photographer and filmmaker, born on November 23, 1944 in Leszno, Poland (the city was German between 1939 and 1945 and called Reichsgau Wartheland). Peter Lindbergh spent his childhood in Duisburg. After a basic school education he worked as a window dresser for the Karstadt and Horten department stores in Duisburg. At 18, he moved to Switzerland. Eight months later, he went from Lucerne to Berlin and took evening courses at the Academy of Arts. He hitchhiked to Arles in the footsteps of his idol, Vincent van Gogh. After several months in Arles, he continued through to Spain and Morocco, a journey that took him two years. Returning to Germany, he studied Free Painting at the College of Art in Krefeld (North Rhine-Westphalia). In 1969, while still a student, he exhibited his work for the first time at the Galerie Denise René - Hans Mayer. Concept Art marked his last period of interest in art. In 1971 his interest turned toward photography and for two years he worked as the assistant to the Düsseldorf-based photographer, Hans Lux. Peter Lindbergh moved to Paris in 1978 and started working internationally for Vogue, first the Italian, then the English, French, German, and American Vogue, later for The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, Allure, and Rolling Stone. His mostly black-and-white photographs, implement a pictorial language that takes its lead from early German cinema and from the Berlin art scene of the 1920s. In 1988, Anna Wintour arrived at American Vogue and signed Lindbergh for the magazine. He shot Miss Wintour’s first, then revolutionary American Vogue, November 1988 cover. Lindbergh photographed the "iconic" January 1990 Vogue cover that featured Linda Evangelista, Naomi Campbell, Tatjana Patitz, Cindy Crawford, and Christy Turlington. He made portraits of Catherine Deneuve, Mick Jagger, Charlotte Rampling, Nastassja Kinski, Tina Turner, John Travolta, Madonna, Sharon Stone, John Malkovich, and countless others. When Lindbergh was put under contract to the American Harpers Bazaar by Liz Tilberis in 1992, she made her editor sign a seven-figure check. His first book, 10 Women by Peter Lindbergh, a black-and-white portfolio of ten top contemporary models, was published in 1996 and had sold more than 100,000 copies as of 2008. Twice he has shot the Pirelli calendar, in 1996 and 2002. The latter, which featured actresses instead of models for the first time, was shot on the back lot of Universal Studios, and was described by Germaine Greer as "Pirelli's most challenging calendar yet." He currently maintains residences in Paris, Manhattan, and Arles. Source: Wikipedia
Odette England
Australia
1975
Odette England is an Australia/British artist who uses photography, performance, writing, and the archive to explore relationships between autobiography, gender, place, and vernacular photography. England is currently Visiting Artist-in-Residence at Amherst College in Massachusetts. She is also a resident artist of the Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts Studio Program in New York. Her work has shown in more than 90 solo, two-person, and group exhibitions worldwide. Notable venues include the George Eastman Museum, Museum of Contemporary Photography Chicago, New Mexico Museum of Art, Fort Wayne Museum of Art, RISD Museum, Center for Photography at Woodstock, Colorado Photographic Arts Center, Philadelphia Photo Arts Center, Photographic Resource Center Boston, MacDonald Stewart Art Center Ontario, Perth Center for Photography in Australia, State Library of South Australia, HOST Gallery London, and the Durham Art Museum & Gallery in England. England has regularly received funding through competitive grants and fellowships. These include the CENTER $5,000 Project Launch Award (2012); two grants - $4,865 and $2,315 - from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation (2018-2019); the Anonymous Was a Woman $1,500 Grant (2020); Color Lab $2,000 Dean's Council Research Fellowship (2020); and the Center for Fine Art Photography Director's Award (2015), among others. She has received fellowships to attend residencies in Australia, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Spain, and the United States including the invitation-only Robert Rauschenberg Foundation residency working with Guggenheim Fellow, Jennifer Garza-Cuen. England's first edited volume Keeper of the Hearth was published by Schilt Publishing in March 2020, with a foreword by Charlotte Cotton. The book is part of England's Winter Garden Photograph project which includes an exhibition at the Houston Center for Photography opening September 2020. England's photographs are held in public collections including the Brooklyn Art Library, the Fort Wayne Museum of Art, George Eastman Museum, Hungarian Multicultural Center, Museum of Contemporary Photography, New Mexico Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, Robert Rauschenberg Residency, and Texas A&M University. Award-related exhibitions include the 2015 Australian Photobook of the Year; Magenta Foundation Flash Forward Emerging Photographers awards (UK winner, twice); HotShoe Magazine Photofusion Photography Award (1st prize); Director's Choice Award at the Medium Festival of Photography's ‘Size Matters' exhibition (1st prize); Px3 Prix De La Photographie competition (1st prize, People's Choice Award); and the Photo Review Photography Competition. Her work has been published in contemporary art journals, magazines, and newspapers including American Photo, Photograph, The Brooklyn Rail, The Photo Review, Photo District News, Hotshoe International, British Journal of Photography, Australian Art Monthly, Musee, GUP, SPOT, JRNL, The Guardian (United Kingdom) and Der Standaard (Belgium). England has given artist talks and critiques at Harvard University, Princeton University, Stanford University, Brown University, the School of Visual Arts in New York, Amherst College, the Penumbra Foundation, Kenyon College, Syracuse University, Lesley College of Art & Design, University of Melbourne, and the Art Gallery of South Australia, among others. She received a four-year fully-funded Research Training Program Scholarship to complete her PhD at the Australian National University in 2018. She also has an MFA in Photography with Honors from the Rhode Island School of Design and an MA in Communication, Culture and Language from the University of South Australia. England is a permanent US resident and lives and works in Providence, Rhode Island and New York City. Her work is represented in the US (east coast only) by Klompching Gallery.
Zied Ben Romdhane
Zied Ben Romdhane (b. 1981, Tunisia) started his career as a commercial photographer. In 2011 he switched to documentary photography and photojournalism. His work has been featured in The New York Times and The Washington Post His recent exhibitions include Views of Tunisia (Arles 2013), After the Revolution (White Box, NY 2013), and Zones d’Attente (Clark House, Bombay 2013), Kushti (Maison de la Tunisie, Paris 2013), Fotofest Biennial in Houston Center for Photography (Houston , USA 2014), Sahel (1×1 Gallery, Dubai 2014), Trace (MUCEM, Marseille 2015) , Afrotopia African biennale of photography (Bamako , Mali 2017), and the Biennale of the photographs of the contemporary Arab world (France , Paris 2017). Romdhane published his first book West of Life in 2018 with Red Hook Editions. Prizes and awards include, selection for the Prize 6X6 Global Talent Program 2018 with World Press Photo Foundation, participant of Joop swart masterclass with World Press Photo, winner of the POPCAP award (Africa Image, Basel, 2015). He is the Director of Photography of Fallega (2011), a documentary film about the Arab Spring in Tunisia. Ben Romdhane was a participant in World Press Photo’s 2013 Reporting Change initiative, member of the collective “Rawiya” and “Native”. Zied Ben Romdhane joined Magnum as a nominee in 2019.Source: Magnum Photos “Zied is a documentary photographer who is using aesthetics in a tasteful way to invite the audience to his stories. His work is not pushing facts but instead he uses careful compositions that leaves room for the viewer to reflect on the images and their content.” - Rebecca Simons, Finland, independent curator, editor, educator and 6x6 nominator. Zied Ben Romdhane is a Tunisian photographer. He won the POPCAP award in 2015, and his work has been featured in Irada and Dégage. He is the Director of Photography of Fallega (2011), a documentary film about the Arab Spring in Tunisia. Romdhane was also a participant in World Press Photo’s 2013 Reporting Change initiative.Source: World Press Photo
Felice Beato
Italy / United Kingdom
1832 | † 1909
Felice Beato, also known as Felix Beato, was an Italian–British photographer. He was one of the first people to take photographs in East Asia and one of the first war photographers. He is noted for his genre works, portraits, and views and panoramas of the architecture and landscapes of Asia and the Mediterranean region. Beato's travels gave him the opportunity to create images of countries, people, and events that were unfamiliar and remote to most people in Europe and North America. His work provides images of such events like the Indian Rebellion of 1857 and the Second Opium War, and represents the first substantial body of photojournalism. He influenced other photographers, and his influence in Japan, where he taught and worked with numerous other photographers and artists, was particularly deep and lasting. A death certificate discovered in 2009 shows that Beato was born in Venice in 1832 and died on 29 January 1909 in Florence. The death certificate also indicates that he was a British subject and a bachelor. It is likely that early in his life Beato and his family moved to Corfu, at the time part of the British protectorate of the Ionian Islands, and so Beato was a British subject. Because of the existence of a number of photographs signed "Felice Antonio Beato" and "Felice A. Beato", it was long assumed that there was one photographer who somehow photographed at the same time in places as distant as Egypt and Japan. In 1983 it was shown by Chantal Edel that "Felice Antonio Beato" represented two brothers, Felice Beato and Antonio Beato, who sometimes worked together, sharing a signature. The confusion arising from the signatures continues to cause problems in identifying which of the two photographers was the creator of a given image. Photographs of the 19th century often now show the limitations of the technology used, yet Beato managed to successfully work within and even transcend those limitations. He predominantly produced albumen silver prints from wet collodion glass-plate negatives. Beato pioneered and refined the techniques of hand-coloring photographs and making panoramas. He may have started hand-coloring photographs at the suggestion of Wirgman, or he may have seen the hand-colored photographs made by partners Charles Parker and William Parke Andrew. Whatever the inspiration, Beato's colored landscapes are delicate and naturalistic and his colored portraits, more strongly colored than the landscapes, are appraised as excellent. As well as providing views in color, Beato worked to represent very large subjects in a way that gave a sense of their vastness. Throughout his career, Beato's work is marked by spectacular panoramas, which he produced by carefully making several contiguous exposures of a scene and then joining the resulting prints together, thereby re-creating the expansive view. The complete version of his panorama of Pehtang comprises seven photographs joined together almost seamlessly for a total length of more than 2 meters (6 1/2 ft). Although Beato was previously believed to have died in Rangoon or Mandalay in 1905 or 1906, his death certificate, discovered in 2009, indicates that he died on 29 January 1909 in Florence, Italy.Source: Wikipedia In a peripatetic career that spanned five decades, the photographer Felice Beato (1832–1909) covered a wide swath of East Asia. Following in the wake of Britain's vast colonial empire, he was among the primary photographers to provide images of newly opened countries such as India, China, Japan, Korea, and Burma. A pioneer war photographer, Beato recorded several conflicts: the Crimean War in 1855–56, the aftermath of the Indian Mutiny in 1858–59, the Second Opium War in 1860, and the American expedition to Korea in 1871. His photographs of battlefields, the first to show images of the dead, provided a new direction for that genre. Catering to a Western audience, Beato produced an exceptionally diverse oeuvre: topographical and architectural views, including panoramas, as well as portraits and costume studies of the countries he visited or in which he resided. From Beato's series on domestic Japanese society, the full-length portrait shown here depicts the traditional armored costume of the samurai, the soldier of noble class who served the powerful rulers of Japan. Beato spent more than 20 years in Japan (1863–84), his longest residency in one country and the most prolific period of his career. There he witnessed one of the most turbulent eras in Japan's history, known as the Bakumatsu period (1853–68), when the Tokuga shogunate gave way to the Meiji reign. During his time in Japan, Beato employed the wet-collodion method, which reduced the length of exposure to seconds rather than minutes. The use of photography began to spread in Japan in the mid-1850s, and Beato's work rapidly achieved success as he offered the first hand-colored photographs and photographic albums in the country. Despite restrictions on foreigners' travel, Beato developed a remarkable and rare visual record of Japan. This photograph depicts the monumental sculpture of the Dai Bouts (Great Buddha), which had been the centerpiece of a temple that was destroyed by a typhoon. It was an important attraction at Kamakura, and Beato was the first Westerner to photograph it. He posed himself in the scene, sitting on the stairs, while local men climbed the statue. Beato left Japan in 1884, but his photographs continued to circulate with the successive sales of his negatives to different studios.Source: The J. Paul Getty Museum
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AAP Magazine #22: Streets
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