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Francesco Gioia
Francesco Gioia
Francesco Gioia

Francesco Gioia

Country: Italy/United Kingdom
Birth: 1991

I am a photographer based in London, England. I was born in Florence in 1991.
I was initially employed with a photojournalism agency, I curated a very rich historical archive of over three million images taken from 1944 to 1980s by the founder Giulio Torrini, who captured half a century of Florence's history.
That is also where I learned the basics of photography. After that, in 2015, I moved to London where I currently live.
 

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Ren Hang
Chinese
1987 | † 2017
Ren Hang (Chinese: 任航; March 30, 1987 – February 24, 2017) was a Chinese photographer and poet. During Ren's incipient career, he was known mostly for nude photographic portraits of his friends. His work is significant for its representation of Chinese sexuality within a heavily censored society. For these erotic undertones, he was arrested by PRC authorities several times. He received the backing of the Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, who included Ren in his 2013 Netherlands show, Fuck Off 2 The Sequel, and curated the photographer's 2014 exhibition in Paris, France. Ren's erotic, playful and casual yet provocative expression gained him worldwide fame. Ren was born in 1987, in a suburb of Changchun, Jilin province, in northeastern China. In 2007, in order to relieve the boredom of studying advertising at college, he bought a point-and-shoot camera and began shooting his friends. As a self-taught photographer, he said his style of photography was inspired by the artist Shūji Terayama. Ren suffered from depression. He posted a series of diary entries titled My depression on his blog, recording the fear, anxiety and internal conflicts he experienced. Ren died by suicide on February 24, 2017 in Beijing. Ren Hang first began taking pictures of his roommates and friends in 2007, shooting them in the nude as all were close and seeking excitement. In an interview, he also admitted: “I usually shoot my friends, because strangers make me nervous.” He arranged his subjects' naked limbs in his photographs. Ren did not consider his work inappropriate: “I don’t really view my work as taboo, because I don’t think so much in cultural context, or political context. I don’t intentionally push boundaries, I just do what I do.” This may account for his reticence to limit his work to indoor settings. He said there were no preferred places for him to work, as he believed anywhere was beautiful and worthy to be shot, including sparse studios, parks forests, and atop buildings. Ren's photos employ nude groups and solo portraits of men and women often contorted into highly performative positions. For example, hands reach down milky thighs, a limp penis flops onto a watermelon and a series of backsides imitate a mountain range. Questioning the purpose of his work, he once stated that his creation was a way to seek fun for both photographer and the photographed. However, once he had reached fame on an international level, he began to think deeply about his work. The British Journal of Photography quoted him as once saying: "I don't want others having the impression that Chinese people are robots... Or they do have sexual genitals but always keep them as some secret treasures. I want to say that our cocks and pussies are not embarrassing at all." Ren also focused on marginalised people in Chinese society with gender identity disorders by 'indeterminating' sex and gender in some of his work: a group of naked bodies stacked together, men wearing silk stockings and wearing lipstick. He denied having a preference in models: “Gender… only matters to me when I’m having sex.” The international quarterly photography journal Aperture used his photo as the cover for its Queer theme. Commentators also see his work, the naked body and the starched penis, as evolving sexual mores and the struggle for creative and sexual freedom in a conservative, tightly controlled society. But Ren Hang also announced "I don't try to get a message across, I don't give my works names, I don't date them. I don’t want to instill them with any vocabulary. I don't like to explain my photos or work as a whole". It has been mentioned that Ren's work is softcore pornography because of the degree of nudity and sex in it, but he also worked with other themes. The most famous was titled My Mum. Although still under a fetishistic atmosphere, posing with usual props in Ren's works like animals and plants, Ren's mother posed as a clothed model, in a light-hearted way to represent her daily life. Ren's photographs have been included in magazines L'Officiel, GQ Style, and Vice. He worked with fashion companies Gucci, Rick Owens, and Loewe. Ren's work is included in Frank Ocean's magazine Boys Don't Cry. Ren Hang is noted to be greatly influenced by Chinese and Asian contemporary art and in particular, Japanese photographer and contemporary artist Nobuyoshi Araki. Ren Hang mainly worked with a simple point-and-shoot camera. He would direct the models as to how to place their bodies and shoot in quick succession. Genitalia, breasts and anuses were not covered up, but featured, or accentuated with props and close-ups. Colors were rich and high in contrast, increasing visual impact. This, along with the fact all bodies were slim, lithe and relatively hairless, made the impact of his photographs more impressive. His work communicated a raw, stark aesthetic that countered taboos and celebrated sexuality and it was this contemporary form of poeticism in a visual context in which Ren Hang expressed themes of identity, the body, love, loss and death. Nudity is not a theme in art that can be widely accepted by the Chinese older generation. Ren Hang's works are sometimes misinterpreted by the public as pornography. Although some have written that Ren Hang used his photographs to challenge Chinese cultural norms of shame around nudity, he did not believe he was challenging the stereotype and leading a revolution. For him, nudity and sexuality are natural themes which he used in his work. "Nudes are there since always. We were born nude. So talking about revolution, I don't think there's anything to revolutionize. Unless people are born with clothes on, and I want to take their clothes off, then I think this is a revolution. If it was already like that, then it's not a revolution. I just photographed things on their more natural conditions." He said he was not trying to liberate nudity and sexuality since he believed that the Chinese young generation was open-minded and less affected by the old-fashioned cultures. When Ren Hang talked about the question whether the topic of sexuality was still a taboo in China, he said: "I don't think it's related to our times, these are individual cases. Like how to say it, I think it depends on different people, it doesn't really relate to other things. I was not in the whole parents told you that you can only have sex if you get married era. The time after I grow up was already over that period, it was already different like everyone was already more relaxed."Source: Wikipedia Flesh, corpses, souls and bland flashlights, all composite into seconds or milliseconds of lights and shadows, projecting onto the film that never knows how to lie. Focus gathering and the shutter releasing, connecting his unpretentious, rebellious, wild and free perspectives towards the naked human body. The images look so natural, yet fun and unexpected. One soul after another all blossom like a newborn baby, urging to crawl out of his mother’s womb, dying to be redefined. In this era that we live in, being censored by the Chinese government has almost become a stamp of approval for contemporary artists. Ren Hang, a young man with a mature look and tanned skin, hair as short as a Chinese soldiers’, always carrying an irresistibly cute and innocent smile on his cheeks. He is, perhaps, the sole artist and photographer with the most edgy outlook towards the naked human body. Ren Hang continues to stress the fact that he is “boring“. Especially when asked about those basic questions of his inspirational origins and meanings behind the photos, he always just smiles naively, shakes his shoulders and says, “I don’t really know. I never really thought about it.” Perhaps he is such a paver, heading towards the direction of happiness and creative freedom without realizing the pathways he has left behind. You might find him confusing and puzzling, but he has the ambience of such kindness that you would always trust that no evil can come out from him. He is merely a pure form of naked human beings. Source: ITSLIQUID
Giorgio Di Maio
Giorgio Di Maio (1963, Naples) begins to take photos during his Architectural studies (1990),where he understood the strength of the photography as a mean to extrapolate from the reality a piece of the reality itself, independent in the shape and in the substance having a own narrative meaning. The expositive activity (since 1992) and the professional one (since 1993) went forward together, and every kind of restructuring activity is an opportunity for linguistic research. In 2003 he held a Master in "Fotografia dello spettacolo" by Silvia Lelli, At European Institute of Design in Milano, that introduced him to a deep research into the American Photography. Between 20017 and 2010, in Basilicata, he developed the series "Paesaggi lucani" and tried in the same period the digital photo machine. In Di Maio, then, woke up his environmental soul that bring the artist in 2011 to a new exhibition "Non è Napoli" dedicated to his own city and its beauty during the rubbish scandal. Since 2013 he slowed down the architect profession starting to study philosophy as theorical support to the practical photography, going from Naples to Milan very often, and vice versa. Then he creates" Armonia nascosta", from his studies, that is written with a specific modus operandi, aware of his reasons and purpose. Starting form Heraclitus, the Hidden Harmony show the transmigration of the mystical and philosophical roots of Paul Klee e Vassilij Kandinskij's abstract art til the photography, transforming it into a growth process both spiritual and social of a man, who goes through the evidence of the visual data looking for the Hidden Harmony as it appears today. Some projects "I sentieri dell'acqua e Chiaroscuro" (2013-2014), "Feminine, Photokina" (2016), "Cristianesimo Arte e Paganesimo" (2017), "Correspondances" (2018), "Milano in Armonia" (2018), "Il mare di Leopardi (2020), always continuing his studies of the immaterial in the material world. In 2017 he published his Photographic-philosophic web site of his research, that will be considered by different international photographic magazines. Then he started an intense exhibitions period, among public exhibition and festivals, having so many positive feedbacks from the public but also from the sector critical. In 2019, the Prof. Guido Ferraro, full professor of "Semiotica e Teoria della narrazione" at Torino's University, named Di Maio's research with those by Franco Fontana, Luigi Ghirri and Mario Giacomelli. Giorgio di Maio goes from a city to another, looking for the Hidden Harmony in nowadays reality. About Hidden Harmony The project that I would represent is the mystical and philosophical roots of Abstract Art transmigration into the Photography. The Art as knowledge tool to understand the sense. Going over the phenomenon, the appearances, searching for the law that create each event, for everyone also individual or being part of a whole. Basically there is the rejection of materialism, the faith in progress and particularly the faith in the spiritual progress of the men helped from the artist which "has in himself a mysterious visionary force....to see and to show". The photographer artist isn't a perfected camera who think that the knowledge and the experiences are only a replica of reality, who limit to reproduction of the exteriority, closed from the barriers of the phenomenon, but he know and must to express an ethical content which he gets from the sensitive data. The equilibrium that comes out from the tens and integration of differences, where the opposites converge completing themselves and the materiality falls to leave space to the spiritual presence, transform every shot in a travel through the space-time instances, instead of being the static representation of the place. In the Photography the language remain the same, using shape and color like the musical notes that touch the soul when you press a key and the human spirit vibrate. The research is the Harmony: to identify in the reality different elements in contrast with each other but in a unitary composition to create a mutual stimulating of the sense of balance and rest. The Peace. The expressionism of Der Blaue Reiter started in the of age of the new spirituality. Instead the wars and the extermination camps comes. It doesn't mean that the materialism has won but only a wrong idea of the temporal date. We don't know how much time need to achieve the spiritual progress of the humanity, maybe thousands of years or more. The important thing is that each era made a new step in right direction and in the contemporary era the Photography could be the most powerful means to give a contribution in this way.
Agata Vera Schiller
Agata Vera Schiller was born in 1980 in Inowroclaw, Poland. Grew up in the countryside surrounded by loving family and beautiful nature. She has graduated at the Faculty of Journalism in Poznan in 2003. Lived for several months in Scotland, spending time drawing and taking pictures of landscapes with her first camera Zenit. In 2006, she has made Masters at the Academy of Fine Arts in Poznan, drawing workshop. Moved to Warsaw and began postgraduate studies at the Department of Interior Architecture at the Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow, which she graduated in 2009. Worked for several years as an interior and furniture designer. In 2010 she moved to Beijing for 3 years, working, living and taking lifestyle pictures. In Beijing began her journey in darkroom focused on discovery old techniques of classical photography such as wet plate. Beijing is also a place, where was held her first solo exhibition „Sol oriens” in 2011 at the Polish Embassy in Beijing, and then at the Chaoyang Culture Center in Beijing. She took part in several collective photo exhibitions in Poland. Her photography is not only a lifestyle photography looking for a beauty in simplicity of Scandinavian interior style and magic of everyday life. But the closest to her heart are nostalgic portraits of women, found somewhere between the worlds, living in a dreams. Agata’s fine art photography is characterized by tension between sensual experience and intellectual construction. Agata currently lives and works in Warsaw as a freelance photographer.
Jennifer Shaw
United States
Jennifer Shaw earned a BFA in photography at the Rhode Island School of Design. Her photographs have been featured in B&W, American Photo, Shots, Light Leaks, The Sun, and Oxford American magazines, online publications including NPR, Fraction Magazine, One One Thousand, Lenscratch, and Brain Pickings, and are included in two recent monographs: Hurricane Story (Chin Music Press, 2011), and Nature/Nurture(North Light Press, 2012). Her work is exhibited widely and held in collections, including the New Orleans Museum of Art, the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, and the Museum of Fine Arts Houston. Shaw is based in New Orleans, Louisiana where she teaches the disappearing art of darkroom photography at the Louise S. McGehee School in addition to chasing after two young sons. Statement: Photography is always an act of discovery for me. It’s about the joy of seeing and the mysterious convergence of light, texture and form as translated onto film. A sense of wonder and a reverence for beauty are motivating factors that lead me to document and interpret the world through the camera’s lens. I attempt to create images that transcend literal description, reaching beyond the physical surface of the subject to resonate with viewers on an emotional level. Most of my work is created using toy cameras. These simple plastic devices lend a whimsical spontaneity to the act of photographing. Although they offer little control in making exposures, their quirks can sometimes result in magic. I print my black and white images in the darkroom on traditional silver paper, then split-tone them to add depth and color. This toning method can be unpredictable, and like every other part of my process, owes a bit to serendipity. The color work is shot on film, then scanned to make archival pigment prints on Hahnemuhle Rag 308 paper.
Urszula Tarasiewicz
Urszula Tarasiewicz, Photographer, organizer of events and photo exhibitions. Studied at the National Film School in Łódź, Poland. I produce pictures with a medium format Hasselblad, which for me retains a particular sort of magic. The quality, the way light works on film, always elevates my interest when I decide to shoot a particular subject. The 'truth in photography' is a continuous debate. But that idea has always fascinated me. I observe the space around me, searching for a contrast between people and their environments. At times I allow the subject to play different roles or use simple props to alter the mood in the picture. There are many stories you can choose from when you observe the picture. I like the viewer to question its authenticity. For me, it's the interpretation that creates the magic. - Urszula Tarasiewicz Her photographs are the effect of acute observation of her surroundings and the ability to notice intriguing details and phenomena which are sometimes absurd and marginal, sometimes sentimental reminiscences of the People's Republic of Poland and the birth of the capitalism in Poland Marcin Krasny The artist's eye focuses on the margins of reality, the kitsch and grotesque public space. Simple, plain and ascetic compositions, or quite the opposite - full of details, colorful - frames of Urszula Tarasiewicz's works depict the world as a place which is not as much absurd as it is pleasant and charming Anna Czaban - Art Historian Urszula Tarasiewicz /b. 1975/ studied Photography at the Leon Schiller National Higher School of Film, Television and Theatre in Łódź, Poland. The works from the series New Urban Legends which are on display at the andel's Hotel in Łódź /curator Lucyna Sosnowska/ have won the portrait category at the 2010 Curator's Contest of the Photo District News Magazine, the 2012 New Talent Award of the German edition of the FotoMagazine, as well as the contest of the Norwegian photography magazine Fotografii for a place at the 17#Debutantutstilling 2012 exhibition in Oslo. The New Urban Legends series has been exhibited in, among others, the Milk Gallery NYC (2010). Other photo series by Urszula Tarasiewicz have been shown internationally: in the US at the Critical Mass exhibition (2012), the series The Future Is So Bright created in Norway during the Artist in Residence program at the Halsnøy monastery was presented at a group exhibition in Norway in 2013 and in Warsaw in 2015 at the Ja to Ktoś Inny show /curator Klima Boheńska/, at the Krinzinger Galerie in Vienna during the group exhibition Call Me on Sunday (2014, curator Ursula Maria Probst), at the Jam Factory gallery in Oxford (2014), in Stuttgart at the Face to Face show (2014), at the Bunkier Sztuki gallery in Kraków during the show Kasa z Widokiem /curator Lidia Krawczyk. All about Ogrodowa/Garden Street Garden Street, A project documenting flats after evictions on Garden Street. 150 families left the building. It was the first residential complex for workers in 1880 in the new industrial city of Lodz. Izrael Poznański wealthy entrepreneur (1833-1900) is regarded as being one of the icons of Łódź. His monumental factory just across Ogrodowa street along with the labourers' tenement houses, is a true city within a city. In its best years, nearly 7000 people in total worked and lived here. The moment Poznański's empire fell after World War II was the beginning of the estate's and all of its inhabitants' long agony. Its fate was concluded with the decommissioning of the Poltex company in 1991. Famuły became a no man's land, its residents left to their own devices. The project 100 Tenement houses in Łódź, thanks to which a major renovation of the Poznański's factory housing estate started in 2014 was preceded by a long process of relocating all the residents. It was during this time I began to document the empty flats. The famuły rooms stun with their ruthlessness, their coldness, with the visibly absent inhabitants. The artist guides us around the world which is already gone, lost. Looking at Tarasiewicz's photos, we're confronted with desolate rooms, dilapidated walls out of which someone ripped off electrical wiring and where time imprinted the ghosts of furniture and lost artworks.
Dasha Pears
Russia
1982
Dasha Pears is an award-winning Russian conceptual photographer, currently based in Helsinki, Finland. Dasha uses the instruments of surrealism, color, and photography to speak about deepest psychological matters, including emotions, states of mind and mind shifts. She started her photographic path in 2011, after reaching burnout in a marketing communications career. Having tried many types of photography, Dasha found herself in the conceptual and fine art sphere. Since then her images have been exhibited in Russia, France, Poland, Austria, Italy and Finland. Dasha's photographs can be found on covers of books published in Europe, the United States and South America. In 2016 Dasha started sharing her experience of organizing conceptual photography shoots and producing surrealist artworks in the form of creative photography workshops. Since then she has held over 15 events in Finland and abroad. Statement Photography turned out to be a way of discovering my true self and expressing it. My works are a reflection of this discovery process and I hope that they can help others who are on the same journey as me. In metaphorical ways I try to show and share processes that are going on in many people's minds: dealing with negative self-talk, being overwhelmed by all kinds of emotions, finding that activity that puts you in the state of flow, when time ceases to exist. My photography is influenced by classical fine art, surrealism, as well as fantasy and science fiction books. The instruments of surrealism help me show that the scene is only partially real and that most of it is going on in the character's mind. My works are carefully composed and many of them are leaning towards minimalism. This is my way of expressing that controlling your mind and creating space is crucial for discovering who you are and who you are not.
Gabriele Viertel
German fine art photographer, born near Cologne, Gabriele Viertel now lives and works in Eindhoven, Netherlands. She grew up as the youngest of 3 children in a rural area with an extended family of aunts, uncles and cousins. Inspired by her father, an avid filmmaker and amateur photographer, she took for the first time at the age of 14 his analogue camera to photograph the children of the family. During the education in technical design, she worked as a model to fund the studie. Completed the degree, Gabriele decided to move on to pursue the international career as a model and worked more than a decade for designers such as Dior and Karl Lagerfeld. Since 2008 she dedicated herself entirely to the art of photography as a freelance artist. Conceptually, Viertel's images play with the dialog between the mediums of painting and photography. The magical, often surreal pictorial language and the chiaroscuro light are characteristic means of expression. The major part of her works is staged underwater. Gabriele has received numerous awards, most recently the platin award of Graphis New York, the gold medal of the International Color Award, the silver medal of Prix de la Photographie Paris as well as the Merit Award of Best of Contemporary Photography, Fort Wayne Museum of Art. Her work has been featured in international exhibitions and publications in Europe and North America, notably the Museum of Art Fort Wayne and the Heritage Municipal Museum Malaga. One book on her work has been published by Associazione Artistico Culturale Cameraraw.it. Gabriele's works are in the public collections of the Fort Wayne Museum of Art, Indiana USA and the University of Art, Rotterdam NL as well as in various private collections.
Vivian Maier
United States
1926 | † 2009
Vivian Dorothea Maier (February 1, 1926 – April 21, 2009) was an American amateur street photographer, who was born in New York City but grew up in France. After returning to the United States, she worked for about forty years as a nanny in Chicago, IL. During those years, she took about 100,000 photographs, primarily of people and cityscapes in Chicago, although she traveled and photographed worldwide. Her photographs remained unknown and mostly undeveloped until they were discovered by a local Chicago historian and collector, John Maloof, in 2007. Following Maier's death, her work began to receive critical acclaim. Her photographs have been exhibited in the US, England, Germany, Denmark, and Norway, and have appeared in newspapers and magazines in the US, England, Germany, Italy, France and other countries. A book of her photography titled Vivian Maier: Street Photographer was published in 2011.Personal lifeMany of the details of Maier's life are still being uncovered. Initial impressions about her life indicated that she was born in France, but further researching revealed that she was born in New York, the daughter of Maria Jaussaud and Charles Maier, French and Austrian respectively. Vivian moved between the U.S. and France several times during her childhood, although where in France she lived is unknown. Her father seems to have left the family for unknown reasons by 1930. In the census that year, the head of the household was listed as award-winning portrait photographer Jeanne Bertrand, who knew the founder of the Whitney Museum of American Art. In 1951, at 25, Maier moved from France to New York, where she worked for some time in a sweatshop. She made her way to the Chicago area's North Shore in 1956 and became a nanny on and off for about 40 years, staying with one family for 14 of them. She was, in the accounts of the families for whom she worked, very private, spending her days off walking the streets of Chicago and taking photographs, most often with a Rolleiflex camera. John Maloof, curator of Maier's collection of photographs, summarizes the way the children she nannied would later describe her: She was a Socialist, a Feminist, a movie critic, and a tell-it-like-it-is type of person. She learned English by going to theaters, which she loved. She wore a men's jacket, men's shoes and a large hat most of the time. She was constantly taking pictures, which she didn't show anyone. Between 1959 and 1960, Maier traveled to and photographed in Los Angeles, Manila, Bangkok, Beijing, Egypt, Italy and the American Southwest. The trip was probably financed by the sale of a family farm in Alsace. For a brief period in the 1970s, Maier worked as a nanny for Phil Donahue's children. As she got older, she collected more boxes of belongings, taking them with her to each new post. At one employer's house, she stored 200 boxes of materials. Most were photographs or negatives, but Maier collected other objects, such as newspapers, and sometimes recorded audiotapes of conversations she had with people she photographed. Toward the end of her life, Maier may have been homeless for some time. She lived on Social Security and may have had another source of income, but the children she had taken care of in the early 1950s bought her an apartment in the Rogers Park area of Chicago and paid her bills. In 2008, she slipped on ice and hit her head. She did not fully recover and died in 2009, at 83.(Source: en.wikipedia.org)
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