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Ruth Lauer Manenti
Ruth Lauer Manenti
Ruth Lauer Manenti

Ruth Lauer Manenti

Country: United States

Ruth Lauer Manenti received an MFA from The Yale School of Art in painting and drawing in 1994. In 2012, she was given a large format camera and taught herself how to use it. Gradually she accomplished what she was striving for in drawing and painting, through photography. Her mother was also an artist who left behind a legacy of unknown work. Part of Ruth's determination as an artist is to reward her mother for her efforts and to create a continuum. She was awarded a NYFA grant in photography in 2016 and had a solo exhibition at The Center for Photography in Woodstock, NY in 2020. Her book Alms is currently on view on an online exhibition at The Griffin Museum of Photography. Her recent book of photographs entitled Since Seeing You, is a visual diary of the woods behind her house as experienced during Lockdown. The pictures give pause, to process the sorrow of the time, rather than as an escape or erasure. Since breaking her neck in a car crash at the age of twenty, Ruth has developed a spiritual life and practice that has propelled much of her photographic work. She lives in the Catskill Mountains in NY.

Shard:
This ongoing series of photos called Shard was made over the last 4 years during which time I was wanting to see whether I could place objects on a table as arrangements for unspoken emotions. In 2017-18 I was unwell. It wasn't mental illness but the line between that and trauma was sometimes hard to find.

I stayed indoors and at home as much as possible. I spent a lot of time watching daylight enter through the windows in different ways according to the clouds, seasons and weather. The windows are old, and the glass is wavy so that the sun rays come in as ripples.

I was interested in using objects as symbols of fragility. I found that the work of making the pictures, and the safe cocoon that I had created between myself and the table, was informed by a kind of benevolent force that accompanied me through my suffering.

In some traditions it is believed that when the heart breaks an entrance for Spirit is created. It's a way that trauma or defeat can become a portal; so much so that sometimes people have a nostalgia for the times in their life when they have suffered most. More recently I have been thinking about the process of repairing things rather than throwing them away.

I wonder if appreciating something damaged, torn, or saved, even if no longer usable, could have an implied nonliteral meaning for getting through the past year, 2020, gracefully, despite so much loss and depression.

I think there is a beauty in the effort of putting one's life back together after experiencing brokenness and I have tried through still life to communicate that.

 

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Félix Bonfils
France
1831 | † 1885
Félix Adrien Bonfils was a French photographer and writer who was active in the Middle East. He was one of the first commercial photographers to produce images of the Middle East on a large scale and amongst the first to employ a new method of colour photography, developed in 1880. He was born in Saint-Hippolyte-du-Fort and died in Alès. Félix worked as a bookbinder. In 1860, he joined General d'Hautpoul's expedition to the Levant, organized by France following the massacre of Christians in the civil conflict between Christians and Druze in Mount Lebanon and Damascus. On his return to France, it is thought that Félix was taught the heliogravure printing process by Abel Niépce de Saint-Victor and opened a printing office in Alès in 1864. Soon after returning from Lebanon, he became a photographer. In 1857, he married Marie-Lydie Cabanis. When his son, Adrien, fell ill, Félix remembered the green hills around Beirut and sent him there to recover, being accompanied by Félix's wife. The family moved to Beirut in 1867 where they opened a photographic studio called "Maison Bonfils". Source: Wikipedia Félix Bonfils and his wife Lydie (1837-1918) came from Saint Hippolyte du Fort in the Gard. As a binder, then a printer, and finally a photographer trained by Niépce de Saint Victor, Félix Bonfils stayed in Lebanon in 1860 during France’s military expedition. He soon decided to transfer his activity there, and so Bonfils’s photographic studio was founded in Beirut in 1867. Bonfils was not a pioneer photography, yet he was the first Frenchman to open a studio in Beirut. His wife, soon assisted by their son Adrien (1861-1929), produced portraits and genre scenes as they travelled throughout Lebanon, Palestine, Egypt, Turkey and Greece before bringing back their shots. The Bonfils studio was above all renowned for its landscapes, sites and views of architecture made first of all for artists, wealthy travellers, art historians and archaeologists, then for an increasing number of tourists. Bonfils immediately became extremely active: at the beginning of the 1870s his catalogue included some fifteen thousand shots, five hundred and ninety-one negatives from Egypt, Palestine, Syria and Greece, and nine thousand stereoscopic views. In 1876, Constantinople was added. A new catalogue resuming these images was published in 1876. These shots were sold one by one on demand, but also brought together in albums. In 1872, Bonfils started out by presenting Architecture antique. Egypte. Grèce. Asie Mineure. Album de photographies published by Ducher in Paris and including fifty albumen originals tipped onto cards with printed captions. For the Paris World Fair in 1878, he produced a series of five volumes entitled: Souvenirs d’Orient : album pittoresque des sites, villes et ruines les plus remarquables… published by their author in Alès in 1877-1878 and covering the Orient from Egypt and Nubia (volumes I and II) to Athens and Constantinople (volume V). Each album included around forty original, tipped-in photographs, as well as an “historical, archaeological and descriptive notice opposite each plate”. These collections were thus offered to the buyers in a finished form, a little like the engraved keepsakes from the 1830s. They won a medal at the World Fair and the department of Stamps at the then Bibliothèque Impériale acquired the entire collection. At this time, the firm, which was now divided between Alès and Beirut, was renamed Bonfils et Cie. This enterprise had a commercial rationale: it was important for it to offer as broad an offer as possible covering all the countries of the Middle East, with all the sites, monuments and landscapes sought-out by its clientele. For this reason, Félix Bonfils was soon unable to do everything on his own. Apart from his wife and son, he took on the help of assistants who have mostly remained anonymous, as well as local photographers also from the Gard, such as Tancrède Dumas (1830-1905) and Jean-Baptiste Charlier (1822-1907) who sold on their shots to him. In 1875 Félix Bonfils felt the need to distribute his prints from Europe, even if he also had a network of foreign correspondents as can be seen in their often bilingual captions. He left his wife and son to manage the Beirut studio and moved back to Alès in the Gard to organize mail ordering of all the images they produced on the banks of the Mediterranean. After his death in 1885, the firm which had opened up several subsidies around the Middle East, was run by his wife and son, until 1895 when the latter turned towards the hotel business. It was only at the death of Lydie Bonfils in 1918 that Abraham Guiragossian, who had been an associate since 1909, brought up the business, which finally closed in 1938. The entire catalogue of works provided by the Bonfils company is as large as it is interesting, especially because these images marry a documentary concern with an aesthetic approach to composition and framing. The large number of photographers explains the obvious fluctuations of quality. The great demand, trade requirements, and the interest of the clientele in the obviously picturesque explains why a part of the production can be judged to be rather mediocre, unjustly obscuring pieces of great quality. This huge production spread out over more than half a century explains why Bonfils’s photographs are today heavily present in French public collections (the BnF, Médiathèque de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine, Musée Niépce…).Source: Bibliothèque Nationale de France
Rory Doyle
United States
1983
Rory Doyle is a working photographer based in Cleveland, Mississippi in the rural Mississippi Delta. Born and raised in Maine, Doyle studied journalism at St. Michael's College in Colchester, Vermont. In 2009, he moved to the Mississippi Delta to pursue a master's in education at Delta State University in Cleveland. He has remained committed to photographing the Delta, with a particular focus on sharing stories of overlooked subcultures. He was a 2018 Mississippi Visual Artist Fellow through the Mississippi Arts Commission and National Endowment for the Arts for his ongoing project about African American cowboys and cowgirls, "Delta Hill Riders." Doyle won the 16th Annual Smithsonian Photo Contest, the 2019 Southern Prize from the South Arts organization, the 2019 Zeiss Photography Award, the 2019 ZEKE Award for Documentary Photography, and the 2019 Michael P. Smith Award for Documentary Photography from the New Orleans Photo Alliance. He has had solo exhibitions in New York City, London, Atlanta and Mississippi. Doyle's work has been published in The New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic, The Guardian and CNN. Delta Hill Riders Historians agree that just after the Civil War, one in four cowboys were African American. Yet this population was drastically underrepresented in popular accounts, and it is still. The "cowboy" identity retains a strong presence in many contemporary black communities. This ongoing documentary project in the Mississippi Delta sheds light on an overlooked African American subculture - one that resists historical and contemporary stereotypes. The project began January 2017 when I attended a black heritage rodeo in Greenville, Mississippi. The body of work reveals how deep and diverse this community is. I've been invited to black heritage rodeos, horse shows, trail rides, "Cowboy Nights" at black nightclubs across the Delta, and to subjects' homes across the region. The project aims to press against my own old archetypes - who could and could not be a cowboy, and what it means to be black in Mississippi - while uplifting the voices of my subjects.
Matthew Brandt
United States
1982
Matthew Brandt (born 1958 in Los Angeles) is a American photographer and visual artist. Calling his approach "a little bit messy and experimental," Brandt produces large-scale photographs through labor-intensive processes recalling the 19th-century origins of photography, often incorporating the physical matter of the subject itself. Attuned to the history of his medium — and its resolute physicality — and inspired by classical American landscape photographs, Brandt traverses the West, photographing and collecting material samples from nature and cities. The reciprocal relationships that Matthew Brandt creates between his subjects and the materials used to represent them are always conceptually grounded, often in response to social and environmental issues. He is deeply inquisitive, even fearless, in his exploration of subjects, materials, and processes, reinvigorating the medium of photography with a sense of wonder.Source: The Lapis Press Matthew Brandt received his BFA from Cooper Union and MFA from UCLA. Brandt has been the subject of institutional solo shows at the Newark Museum, the Columbus Museum of Art, Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art and SCAD Museum of Art, Savannah. Recent group exhibitions include works in New Territory: Landscape Photography Today at the Denver Art Museum, The Magic Medium at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Light, Paper, Process: Reinventing Photography at the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles; Second Chances at the Aspen Art Museum; What is a Photograph? at the International Center of Photography, New York; and Land Marks at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Brandt was shortlisted for the prestigious Prix Pictet Award in 2015 and had his work showcased in an exhibition at the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris. His work can be found in the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles; Guggenheim Collection, NY; Brooklyn Museum, New York; Art Gallery of South Wales, Sydney, Australia; Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond; Cincinnati Art Museum; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Royal Danish Library, National Museum of Photography, Copenhagen; Denver Art Museum, Colorado; High Museum, Georgia; Detroit Institute of Arts, Michigan; and the Columbus Museum of Art, among others. In 2014 a monograph devoted to Brandt’s work was published by Damiani. Matthew Brandt lives and works in Los Angeles.Source: matthewbrandt.com Matthew Brandt's photography conflates subject and material, incorporating physical elements from the sources he’s depicting to create unique compositions that are technically inventive and conceptually sly. For Lakes and Reservoirs, his landscapes were bathed in the water of their subjects; 2014’s Dust featured reproductions of historical photographs of demolished structures, rendered in pigments borne of debris collected from those buildings’ contemporary sites. For 1864, his first exhibition at Jackson Fine Art, Matthew Brandt again turns to the archives, reinterpreting George N. Barnard’s photographs of a post-Sherman Atlanta by making images of a shattered city into peach pie.Source: Jackson Fine Art
MG Vander Elst
Belgium/United States
1967
Raised In Antwerp, Belgium, MG Vander Elst is a Fine Art Photographer and holds a Certificate of Photography from The Portfolio Center in Atlanta, Ga. She worked as a photographer’s assistant in NYC and developed her Portraiture work which later expanded to include, still life, abstract and landscape work. Art was all around her growing up in Antwerp, where she regularly visited the Ruben’s house, studied the Dutch Masters, and shared her parents love for Modern Art. The light, gesture and intimacy of the Dutch masters and the minimalism of modernists still influence her work. MG’s fine art photography approach is intuitive, stemming from an idea or an emotion. Whether photographing landscape, florals or abstracts she tries to make visible what is invisible, pursuing that intimate moment between inhale and exhale. Statement MG’s latest work in florals, still life and abstract work all stem from the same place, a place of loss, identity and forging ahead. Letting go "Floral images are my new center, I use flowers that I encounter in my neighborhood and local shops, it is no surprise to learn that these flowers embody the range of emotions I have been going through, like remembrance, growth, healing, refuge, and love. Through this process I am learning that photographing the simple lines and daintiness of these flowers they become an exercise in form, in juxtapositions and in letting go. In closely observing the shifting shapes of these living forms, who then transition, mature, and wilt I witness the contrasting paradox in beauty when blossoming or dying combined with their shaggy stalk and the petal’s ethereal texture which generates this visual dissonance that captivate me. I am not frozen and no longer afraid, but instead I am finding a rise of energy in this newfound freedom of moving in a place I have never been." Finding my Way "At the onset of the Pandemic, I lost my mother, simultaneously, my eldest son was preparing to leave for college. With the loss of my mother, I became the adult, the matriarch. The guidance I trusted and the intimacy I relied on was gone, that comfort of being the child vanished. With the anticipation of my son’s departure, I was thrusted into an uncharted emotional landscape, one where I felt undefined as a mother and did not know how to move forward. So, returning to myself and turning the camera onto my body is my way forward. By abstracting my body, I examine the shapes and textures of my form; in this pause, I am able to explore and chart my new emotional landscape. This way I am relearning who I am in order to know where I am going." Conformity "When I am creating still life’s in my own domestic spaces or in my studio. I am asking questions about my life today, as a woman, as mother and as a spouse. Whose ideas about myself am I conforming to? Why do I possess a pink razor, Is this herbal tea really soothing me? By calling attention to the everyday mundane possessions, we surround ourselves with, my intention is clear from the start. In certain instances, I juxtapose them with random objects, or I deliberately leave them by themselves. But by posing these objects in specific places I am adding a tension to the image and the one-dimensional image becomes a multi-dimensional exploration of the time we live in. I am making room for consideration, focusing on what that object means to us and what it evokes in us and why we surround ourselves with it. I aim to create a pause."
Bieke Depoorter
Belgium
1986
Bieke Depoorter (born 1986) is a Belgian photographer. She is a member of Magnum Photos and has published four books: Ou Menya, I am About to Call it a Day, As it May Be, and Sète#15. Depoorter received a master's degree in photography at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Ghent in 2009. The relationships Depoorter establishes with the subjects of her photographs lie at the foundation of her artistic practice. Accidental encounters are the starting point, and how these interactions naturally develop dictate the nature of Depoorter’s work. Many of her self-initiated projects are about intimate situations in families and in peoples' homes. For her graduation project and her first book, Ou Menya (2011), she made three trips to Russia, photographing people in their homes that she met whilst travelling around. The series won the 2009 Magnum Expression Award. Bieke Depoorter made the work for her second book, I am About to Call it a Day (2014) in a similar way whilst hitchhiking and driving around the U.S. However several recent projects have been the result of Depoorter questioning the medium. In As it May Be, she gradually became more aware of her status as an outsider, both culturally and as a photographer. So, in 2017, she revisited Egypt with the first draft of the book, inviting people to write comments directly onto the photographs. In Sète#15, and also Dvalemodus, a short film she co-directed together with Mattias De Craene, she began to see her subjects as actors. Although she portrayed them in their true environments, she tried to project her own story onto the scenes, fictionalizing the realities of her subjects in a way that blurred the lines between their world and hers. In the ongoing project Agata, a project about a young woman Depoorter met at a striptease bar in Paris in October 2017, she explores her interest in collaborative portraiture. It’s an example of Depoorter’s interest in finding people that can work with her in telling a story. These stories are always partially hers, and partially theirs. In her latest project Michael, she investigates the disappearance and life of a man she met on the streets of Portland in 2015. After giving her three suitcases full of scrapbooks, notes and books, everyone lost sight of him. Bieke Depoorter became a nominee member of Magnum Photos in 2012, an associate member in 2014, and a full member in 2016. She is the fourth Belgian member of the agency, after Carl De Keyzer, Martine Franck, Harry Gruyaert... Depoorter has won the Magnum Expression Award, The Larry Sultan Award and the Prix Levallois.Source: Wikipedia For the past six years, Bieke Depoorter has spent countless nights photographing perfect strangers—people that she encounters on the street who are willing to open their homes to Depoorter and her camera. The project began when she was travelling on the Trans-Siberian Railway, in 2008. She didn’t speak the language, so photography became her mode of communication. (She carried a letter that a friend wrote in Russian that explained her intent.) After publishing the work as a book, called Ou Menya, Depoorter headed to the United States, in 2010, where she hitchhiked and drove around the country, creating the collection found in her latest book, I Am About to Call It a Day. The project, both intimate and removed, hinges upon Depoorter’s ability to build trust within a tight timeframe. In many of the photographs, she seems to go unnoticed, capturing the unguarded moments found only in the privacy of one’s own home. “I like the atmosphere of the night,” Depoorter told me. “When people go to sleep, I think it’s most real. No one is looking at them, and they become their true selves.” She told me that her process is intrinsic to the success of her images. “I try to not hope for a picture,” she said. “I am there as a person first, and a photographer second.”Source: The New Yorker
Kim Watson
United States
A multi-dimensional artist with decades of experience, Kim Watson has written, filmed, and photographed subjects ranging from the iconic entertainers of our time to the ''invisible'' people of marginalized communities. A highly influential director in music videos' early days, Watson has directed Grammy winners, shot in uniquely remote locations, and written across genres that include advertising, feature films for Hollywood studios such as Universal (Honey), MTV Films, and Warner Brothers, and publishers such as Simon & Schuster. His passionate marriage of art and social justice has been a life-long endeavor, and, in 2020, after consulting on Engagement & Impact for ITVS/PBS, Kim returned to the streets to create TRESPASS, documenting the images and stories of LA's unhoused. TRESPASS exhibited at The BAG (Bestor Architecture Gallery) in Silver Lake, Los Angeles, September 17, 2022 - October 11, 2022. Statement ''I'm gonna be an artist!'' That was my childhood mantra—even before I knew what it meant. You see, growing up in St. Albans, Queens and with family roots firmly planted in Harlem, I was surrounded by artistic expression, much of it created by my own family and much more blooming from the talented artists like Count Basie, James Brown and others who lived in our community—a community that would also bring us Run DMC, LL Cool J and Tribe Called Quest. Yes, I knew the path I would take but had no idea of the journey it would become. Untethered by labels, I have scratched my creative itch through writing, filmmaking, photography, and music; always aspiring to tell a story that touches and inspires us to see the world a little bit differently and with a little more empathy. It was while living in Brooklyn as a ''struggling artist'' that I truly saw art being used as a powerful social and political tool, capable of engaging, influencing and changing hearts and minds for the better. Since then, I have had the good fortune of both performing and producing music on the New York scene, and following a return to film school, directing a variety of projects, including over 40 music videos with Hip-Hop innovators and Grammy winners alike, from Roxanne Shante to Al Jarreau, receiving Best Music Video nominations from MTV and the Soul Train Awards, as well as NAACP recognition for my presentation of positive images of African Americans. Did I mention a move to Los Angles? Oh well... My passion for writing led to assignments for Disney Channel, Nickelodeon, Simon & Schuster, Warner Brothers Films, MTV Films, Kidz Bop, movies of the week and the Universal Pictures hit HONEY, starring Jessica Alba. I have partnered on entertainment and tech ventures, consulted on engagement and impact for ITVS/PBS and written, blogged, filmed and photographed around the world, often on assignment and sometimes merely to feed my soul. I guess you could say that I am in love with everything about the creative process, no matter the medium. For these opportunities I am eternally grateful. For the past year I have been immersed in TRESPASS... photographs and writing which bring focus to Los Angeles' homeless community; sharing the stories we need to hear and connecting with those too often unseen and unheard. I am thankful for the many relationships that have grown out of TRESPASS and the amazing individuals who share their world with me. Please take a look at Trespass as well as the other photo-essays, articles and more, I hope I have found a way to touch your heart, feed your soul and bring us all closer together. Exclusive Interview with Kim Watson
Quentin Shih
China
1975
Quentin Shih (a.k.a. Shi Xiaofan), born in Tianjin, China in 1975, lives and works as a camera artist, and filmmaker between New York and Beijing. A self-taught photographer, he began to shoot photos in college for local underground musicians and artists. After graduation, he came to Beijing to develop his career as a professional photographer/artist. From 2000 to 2002, he participated in exhibitions in China and America with his fine art photographic works and his works have been collected by American museums, such as the Danforth Museum of Art and the Worcester Art Museum. During the last few years, he has been producing work for top commercial clients and international publications such as Adidas, Microsoft, Sony, Siemens, Vogue, Harper's Bazaar and Esquire. His advertising campaigns work have won numerous prestigious international advertising and photography awards. In 2007, Quentin was named 'Photographer of the Year' by Esquire Magazine (China). In the following years, he joined lots group exhibitions and solo exhibitions in China, Europe, Southeast Asia and United States. As one of the leading Chinese photographers, Quentin Shih is well recognized for his individual artistic style which utilizes vast sets and dramatic lighting to engage in emotional narratives. Now, he is returning to his roots in fine art photography and challenging its techniques and concepts into his commercial and fashion photography in order to achieve a unique symbiosis. At the same time, he is also working on his film projects, A Parisian Movie (2011) was his first short movie shot in Paris, France.
Maureen Ruddy Burkhart
United States
1954
My creative quest has always been about the 'journey' as opposed to the 'destination'. The first is experiential, alive, organic; that latter seems rushed. I grew up in places that I now see as exotic, but at the time I just thought it was terribly inconvenient and definitely too far from friends back 'home'. In 1971, at age 17, I left Iran, after three years, in tears and some relief. I immediately thought 'why didn't I take any pictures there?'. I fell in love with that country and its people, but I would not be going back (at least, not yet!). Holding onto what memories I had taken with me, I vowed this would not happen again. So I enrolled in the SFAI. Many years have unfolded since then, and I've been a filmmaker (when 'film' was film), a writer/director, an I.Q. tester, stock photographer, and a documentary and fine art photographer. My most seminal work to date, in terms of how it changed my worldly perceptions, came after spending some three years on and off working for a documentary project in the Kibera slum of Kenya. "Kibera: A Slice of Heaven" earned numerous international awards and press, but my favorite was a local 'Artist of the Year' in Longmont, Colorado. The Firehouse Art Center curator, Jessica Kooiman Parker, called it an 'act of bravery'. Reflecting on that, I realized that bravery is a way to change the world AND the photographer, one heart at a time. The power of photography is truly unlimited. Amidst a crazy world (and always being on the move), I developed a love of landscape photography. Most people acknowledge that nature can be a place of solace and inspiration. While it is definitely the same for me, I've been creating 'scenes' from nature. I often photograph the same landscape over and over, taking my favorite parts of the series and compositing them into a singular landscape that mimics my relationship to it. It's fantasy, whimsy, and hope. In my darker landscapes, there's a moody melancholia…but I never lose sight of the hope. Exclusive Interview with Maureen Ruddy Burkhart
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