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Imani McCray
Imani McCray
Imani McCray

Imani McCray

Country: United States
Birth: 1992

Born in Baltimore Maryland 1992, the probability of me being dead or negative statistic was inherited from birth. With the help of those who have come into my life, I have triumphed over those odds and wish it help others overcome their adversity. Progressive art aids social justice by using its polyrhythmic mediums to give form to the thoughts, needs, and pains of a broken society. As an advocate for social justice and artist, my goal is to use impactful images, easily accessible copy, and strategic design to engage and inspire my audience. Passion, deception, faith, and spontaneity, are constant themes throughout our world. Navigating these experiences through different mediums is my attempt to shape this reality with imagination and passion. Photography and graphic design are the mediums I nurture as a way of bringing tangibility to my imagination.

Statement
2020 has presented the world with a myriad of challenges being met in succession. The events that continue to transpire are radically reshaping our societies and mindsets. People have been tasked with navigating the well-being of themselves, their livelihood, and conscious contribution to change. Our individual and collective ability to adapt is continually being pushed. With the future uncertain, we must be proactive in creating our reality. We must be the change we want to see. "Be The Change" is a multifaceted photo-journalistic design series highlighting some amazing people working to shape a better future through vast forms of social justice. I progress the second issue is focused on documenting the changes our society is going through from the frontline.

As a minority I have marched in solidarity with others striving to defend our most basic human rights to life, to freedom, to vote, and to love in public without the threat of an oppressive society continuing to cause us harm. Protesters have occupied streets and been used in social justice movements to remind others of our humanity. January 6th was a sight that should have been relegated only to horror movies and pre-reconstruction ignorance-not 2021.

What we witnessed wasn't protest-peaceful or otherwise. It was an insurrection and the manifestation and mass personification of white privilege and fragility. The mob implored the tactics of a victimhood mentality, while simultaneously showing a broad sense of entitlement. They should be held accountable for their actions and not allowed to shrink back into the shadows of ignorance and hate.

For the last four years, we have watched as America's darker truths were aired for the entire world to see. We have watched white privilege documented and the murder of black bodies go without justice. America has never been the land of the free, but we have always believed we can be more. The entire world has had to adapt to the adversity of a global pandemic and overcome the fear of the unknown. The American dream is based on success through adversity. The American reality is adversity reveals character and many Americans should be ashamed of what happened on January 6 and all that led up to it. From the ones that stormed the Capitol with malicious intent to the ones that allow ignorance to go unchecked, and all the in-between-we all hold responsibility. There is always room to be better and be the change you want to see. As Amanda Gorman, National Youth Poet Laureate said at the inauguration of a new President, "There is always light if we're brave enough to see it. There's always light if we're brave enough to be it." I aim for my photography and Be the Change to be a path forward with both truth and light.
 

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More Great Photographers To Discover

Olivia Milani
Switzerland
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.
Harry Callahan
United States
1912 | † 1999
Harry Callahan (Harry Morey Callahan) (October 22, 1912 – March 15, 1999) was an American photographer and educator. He taught at both the Institute of Design in Chicago and the Rhode Island School of Design. Callahan's first solo exhibition was at the Art Institute of Chicago in 1951. He had a retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 1976/1977. Callahan was a recipient of the Edward MacDowell Medal and the National Medal of Arts. Along with the painter Richard Diebenkorn, he represented the United States in the Venice Biennale in 1978. Harry Callahan was born in Detroit, Michigan. He worked at Chrysler when he was a young man then left the company to study engineering at Michigan State University. He dropped out, returned to Chrysler and joined its camera club. Callahan began teaching himself photography in 1938. He formed a friendship with Todd Webb who was also to become a photographer. A talk given by Ansel Adams in 1941 inspired him to take his work seriously. In 1941, Callahan and Webb visited Rocky Mountain State Park but didn't return with any photographs. In 1946 he was invited to teach photography at the Institute of Design in Chicago by László Moholy-Nagy. He moved to Rhode Island in 1961 to establish a photography program at the Rhode Island School of Design, eventually inviting his close friend and fellow artist Aaron Siskind to join him, teaching there until his retirement in 1977. Callahan met his future wife, Eleanor Knapp, on a blind date in 1933. At that time she was a secretary at Chrysler Motors in Detroit and he was a clerk. They married three years later. In 1950 their daughter Barbara was born. Callahan died in Atlanta in 1999. His wife Eleanor died on February 28, 2012 in a hospice in Atlanta at the age of 95. Callahan left almost no written records—no diaries, letters, scrapbooks or teaching notes. His technical photographic method was to go out almost every morning, walk through the city he lived in and take numerous pictures. He then spent almost every afternoon making proof prints of that day's best negatives. Yet, for all his photographic activity, Callahan, at his own estimation, produced no more than half a dozen final images a year. He photographed his wife and daughter and the streets, scenes and buildings of cities where he lived, showing a strong sense of line and form, and light and darkness. Even prior to birth, his daughter showed up in photographs of Eleanor's pregnancy. From 1948 to 1953 Eleanor, and sometimes Barbara, were shown out in the landscape as a tiny counterpoint to large expanses of park, skyline or water. He also worked with multiple exposures. Callahan's work was a deeply personal response to his own life. He encouraged his students to turn their cameras on their own lives, leading by example. Callahan photographed his wife over a period of fifteen years, as his prime subject. Eleanor was essential to his art from 1947 to 1960. He photographed her everywhere—at home, in the city streets, in the landscape; alone, with their daughter, in black and white and in color, nude and clothed, distant and close. He tried several technical experiments—double and triple exposure, blurs, large and small format film. Callahan was one of the few innovators of modern American photography noted as much for his work in color as for his work in black and white. In 1955 Edward Steichen included his work in The Family of Man, MoMA's popular international touring exhibition. In 1956, he received the Graham Foundation Award, which allowed him to spend a year in France with his family from 1957 to 1958. He settled in Aix-en-Provence, where he took many photographs. In 1994, he selected 130 original prints with the help of the gallery owner Peter MacGill, and brought them together under the name of French Archives, to offer them to the Maison Européenne de la Photographie in Paris. Some of these images were taken in Aix-en-Provence and in the South of France, and are the subject of a temporary exhibition at the Granet Museum in Aix-en-Provence in 2019. Callahan left behind 100,000 negatives and over 10,000 proof prints. The Center for Creative Photography at the University of Arizona maintains his photographic archives. In 2013, Vancouver Art Gallery received a gift of almost 600 Callahan photographs from the Larry and Cookie Rossy Family Foundation.Source: Wikipedia Harry Callahan has won many awards for his photography, including a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1972 and the Photographer and Educator Award from the Society for Photographic Education in 1976, and he was designated Honored Photographer of the Rencontres Internationales de la Photographie in Arles, France in 1977, and received ICP's Master of Photography Infinity Award in 1991. Among the major exhibitions of his work were Photographs of Harry Callahan and Robert Frank (1962), one of the last shows curated by Edward Steichen at the Museum of Modern Art, and retrospectives at the Museum of Modern Art (1976) and at the National Gallery in Washington, DC (1996). Callahan was widely respected in the photography community for his open mind and experimental attitude, qualities reinforced by his association with Moholy-Nagy and the principles of Bauhaus design. He produced work in both formalist and more documentary modes and worked in both black-and-white and color. He used a 35-millimeter and an 8x10 camera and worked with multiple exposures as well as straight images. Such versatility contributed to his success as a teacher, his students ranging widely in style--among them Ray K. Metzker, Emmet Gowin, Kenneth Josephson, and Bill Burke.Source: International Center of Photography
Nicolas Dhervillers
Nicolas Dhervillers is a French artist who works in the field of photography. After multimedia and photography studies, he made a name for himself after an historic commission from the Centre Pompidou in Metz. Inspired by cinematic, theatrical and pictorial writing, Nicolas Dhervillers's approach decompartmentalizes the photographic medium.He works with French Galleries, collaborates with Art Centers and International Museums. He was invited to show his work in many countries like Switzerland, Germany, Korea, China, Netherlands, Usa and to Paris Photo for the past 5 years.In 2014 and 2015 he will have a solo exhibition at the Helmond Gemeente Museum (NL) then he will be in Australia for an International Festival and in Belgium for the "triennale de Photographie et d’architecture".All about Nicolas Dhervillers:AAP: Where did you study photography?I studied cinema first, then theater, and then I came to Paris to make a master in Photography and mixed media. I studied with Mr Jean Claude Moineau, my "chief" in terms of theory.AAP:Do you have a mentor or role model?No, but Jeff Wall influence me off course. AAP: How long have you been a photographer?10 years, but not a Photographer, maybe an artist is more correct, in a way.AAP: What or who inspires you?History of art in generalAAP: How could you describe your style?It is a mix between the painting spirit (about the white page), the cinematographic light and the pose of theater.AAP: What are your projects?Retrospective exhibition in Netherlands.
Joel Sternfeld
United States
1944
Joel Sternfeld (born June 30, 1944) is an American fine-art color photographer. He is noted for his large-format documentary pictures of the United States and helping establish color photography as a respected artistic medium. Sternfeld's work is held in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Sternfeld earned a BA from Dartmouth College and teaches photography at Sarah Lawrence College in New York. He began taking color photographs in 1970 after learning the color theory of Johannes Itten and Josef Albers. Color is an important element of his photographs. American Prospects (1987) is Sternfeld's most known book and explores the irony of human-altered landscapes in the United States. To make the book, Sternfeld photographed ordinary things, including unsuccessful towns and barren-looking landscapes. On This Site: Landscape in Memoriam (1997), is about violence in America. Sternfeld photographed sites of recent tragedies. Next to each photograph is text about the events that happened at that location. From 1991 to 1994 Sternfeld worked with Melinda Hunt to document New York City's public cemetery on Hart Island, resulting in the book Hart Island (1998). Sternfeld has also published books about social class and stereotypes in America: Stranger Passing (2001), an abandoned elevated railway in New York: Walking the High Line (2002), and Sweet Earth: Experimental Utopias in America (2006). When It Changed (2007) contains close-up portraits of delegates debating global warming at the 2005 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Montreal.Source: Wikipedia Joel Sternfeld is an artist-photographer whose work is concerned with utopic and dystopic possibilities of the American experience. Ever since the publication of his landmark study, American Prospects in 1987 his work has maintained conceptual and political aspects, while also being steeped in history, art history, landscape theory and attention to seasonal passage. It is a melancholic, spectacular, funny and profound portrait of America. The curator Kevin Moore has claimed that the work embodies the “synthetic culmination of so many photographic styles of the 1970s, incorporating the humor and social perspicacity of street photography with the detached restraint of New Topographics photographs and the pronounced formalism of works by so many late-decade colorists” (Kevin Moore, Starburst: Color Photography in America 1970-1980). On This Site (1996) examines violence in America while simultaneously raising significant epistemological questions about photographs as objects of knowledge. Sweet Earth: Experimental Utopias in America (2006) “can be seen as a generous respite from the traumatic history in On This Site... It is a survey of American human socialization, alternative ways of living, of hopeful being” (Elin O’Hara Slavik, 2018). All his subsequent work has sought to expand the narrative possibilities of still photography primarily through an authored text. All of his books and bodies of work converse with each other and may be read as a collective whole. His work represents a melding of time and place that serves to elucidate, honor, and warn. The images hold a certain urgency, as their histories survive solely through their photographic representation— they are an archive for the future. Sternfeld is the recipient of two Guggenheim Fellowships and spent a year in Italy on a Rome Prize. He teaches at Sarah Lawrence College, where he holds the Noble Foundation Chair in Art and Cultural History.Source: www.joelsternfeld.net Joel Sternfeld is well known for large-format color photographs that extend the tradition of chronicling roadside America initiated by Walker Evans in the 1930s. Sternfeld's projects have consistently explored the possibility of a collective American identity by documenting ordinary people and places throughout the country. Each project he embarks on is bound by a concept that imbues it with subtle irony, often through insightful visual juxtapositions or by pairing images with informational text. Another characteristic aspect of Sternfeld's work is that color is never arbitrary; it functions in highly sophisticated ways to connect elements and resonate emotion. Sternfeld earned a BA in Art from Dartmouth College in 1965. He began making color photographs in the 1970s after learning the color theory of Johannes Itten and Josef Albers. He initially made street photographs with small- and medium-format cameras, but by the time he produced what would become a seminal project, American Prospects (1987), he was working with an eight-by-ten-inch camera. This enabled him to achieve the crisp details his work is known for. Sternfeld's style-his careful attention to visual qualities combined with an insightful and often ironic view of his subjects was first articulated in American Prospects. One of his best-known images, for example, depicts a fireman shopping for a pumpkin as a house burns in the background. The pumpkins' vibrant oranges match the autumnal colors of the countryside, and ironically, the fire's flames.Source: The J. Paul Getty Museum
Cayetano GonzÁlez
My grandparents met during their studies in the University of Fine Arts in Valencia. Most of my close relatives work in the field of visual arts. On my behalf, I've always wanted to be a painter, and was fascinated by many artists: Sorolla, Velázquez, Rembrandt, Delacroix... During High School I had the opportunity to work on a short film for one of the courses, I then realised I wanted to work in the film industry. In 2006 I started my adventure. I studied Film in Valencia, and afterwards worked as a freelancer in a television production company for a year. At that time everything we did was recorded on tapes, and the cinematography quality I was searching for was unattainable. Fortunately, my grandfather lent me his Leica and everything changed. I slowly began learning how to use different cameras and I knew I had found my calling. Before even realising it I was already working as a photographer. I knew (or at least I thought I knew) how to use a camera, but not what to express with it, I needed to expand my knowledge of Art and extend my perspective. I began my studies in Fine Arts, and it was one of the best decisions I have ever made. I still don't know the meaning of Art, fully, but I was able to learn what people could achieve thanks to having artistic values. During the last two years of my Arts studies I concentrated on Contemporary Art, Film and Photography. When I finished I wanted to specialise in Cinematography and decided to move to Barcelona to study a Masters in Cinematography in ESCAC (Superior School of Cinema of Catalonia). Since then I'm based in Barcelona and my work is focused mainly on Photography and Cinematography. I also teach workshops specialised in natural light and try to direct my work towards a more natural feel, creating atmospheres that recall the painters I've always admired. About Light In 2016, after years of studying arts and photography I decided I wanted to specialise in natural light. I wanted to learn everything I could about it, so I began to research and practice, studying from artists starting from the 15th century until today. This research evolved in a personal project called "aboutlight", shot with natural light, about beauty, femininity, loneliness, melancholy and any type of feeling you can transmit while in a state of calm. I'm currently teaching and learning constantly, improving and making others improve. It's this combination that's helping me grow and develop my skills day to day. Find out more in his exclusive interview
Jared Ragland
United States
1977
Jared Ragland is a fine art and documentary photographer and former White House photo editor. He currently teaches and coordinates exhibitions and community programs in the Department of Art and Art History at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and is at work on a long-term documentary on methamphetamine users living in northeast Alabama. He is the photo editor of National Geographic Books' "The President's Photographer: Fifty Years Inside the Oval Office," and has worked on assignment for NGOs in the Balkans, the former Soviet Bloc, East Africa and Haiti. His photographic work is rooted in his lifelong exposure to the landscapes, people, aesthetics, and storytelling traditions of the American South, and his work has been exhibited internationally and featured by The Oxford American, The New York Times, and TIME Magazine. Jared is an alumni of LaGrange College and a 2003 graduate of Tulane University with an MFA in Photography. He resides in his hometown of Birmingham, Alabama. Statement: The rise in use of methamphetamine across the United States over the last decade has led to increased cultural anxiety about the drug and those who use it, while the general perception of the meth-head is perpetuated by popular television programs and pervasive anti-meth campaigns. These limited representations typically paint one-dimensional, demonized characters whose chronic drug use is epitomized by obsessiveness, paranoia, and monstrous physical side effects. But while there are certainly deleterious consequences to meth use and stereotypes often ring too true, existing cultural narratives too often fall short of more complex, individually considered realities. Photographed over 18 months in collaboration with University of Alabama at Birmingham sociologist Heith Copes, Ph.D., GOOD BAD PEOPLE documents the tumultuous lives of meth users from Sand Mountain, a sandstone plateau in northeast Alabama infamous for extreme poverty, poultry processing plants, Pentecostal snake-handlers, and meth production. The images simultaneously reinforce and undermine assumptions of what it means to be a methamphetamine user and present an intimate look into the lives of those who struggle amidst drug use and diminished social status.
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AAP Magazine #22: Streets
AAP Magazine #22: Streets
Solo Exhibition December 2021

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Call for Entries
Solo Exhibition December 2021
Win an Onine Solo Exhibition in December 2021