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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

Wendel Wirth
United States
1966
Wendel Wirth is an American contemporary fine art photographer. Originally from New York City and Chicago, Wirth lives in the mountains of Ketchum (better known as Sun Valley), Idaho. She in interested in the space between minimalist art and photography, ultimately pushing the viewers attention beyond the subject matter and celebrating the most essential and elemental aspects of the photograph. Wirth is an Idaho Commission on the Arts Fellow and is represented by Gilman Contemporary in Ketchum, Idaho and Dimmitt Contemporary in Houston, TX. THIS IS THE PLACE THIS IS THE PLACE is a photographic exploration of minimalist art as found in the landscape of our fading farmland. Driving highway twenty through central Idaho, the ground stretches for miles, expanding space. The linear landscape feels curated. In the winter months, the muted horizon parades elemental forms; barns and grain elevators, cow houses, cowsheds, granges as they have been called. My mind, in its road trip haze, translates the landscape into fields of Donald Judd's concrete blocks. As a photographer, I flatten the plane, calling to mind Judd's woodblock prints. The structures fade into a cluster of modest rectangles. A perfectly centered horizon line juts from a singular form. Repetition, as found in minimalist art, is used to draw attention to the subtle details & linear interests. As I peer through my viewfinder, I am not only deeply engaged with form and texture, line, color and atmosphere, I am also contemplating the rate at which our farmland in disappearing. It is urgent for me to capture a place that historically has served as a source of health and ecosystem before it is gone. Through intersecting my obsession of minimalist art, photography and farmland, my intent is to inspire you to visually play in and to conserve this precious land. THIS IS THE PLACE I am telling you about.
Manjari Sharma
Manjari Sharma is a photographer born and raised in Mumbai, India and based in Brooklyn, New York. Rooted in the study of relationships and personal mythology, since it’s inception Manjari’s work has been recognized as walking the line of fine art and traditional portraiture. Manjari‘s work has been showcased in several group and solo exhibitions both in the US and internationally and she's been invited to speak at the School of Visual arts and the Rubin Museum of Art in New York City. Manjari was chosen as an honorable mention for the Santa Fe Prize in 2012, her work selected by Review Santa Fe and featured by the Critical mass top 50. Manjari has been featured in various magazines print and online. Her works have appeared with Forbes India Magazine, Vogue India, Geo Magazine, America Online. She has been commisioned to work with advertising agencies such as JWT and Contract, India and has had features and interviews with New York Times, lens blog, Wired Raw File Nikon Asia, NPR, Time, PDN, Huffington Post, CNBC, Mumbai, The Times of India group and Leica, China. Before moving to the U.S. in 2001 Manjari worked for the national news daily of her country, The Times of India. Manjari has also worked as a staff photojournalist with the leading south asian photography magazine, Better Photography. She holds a bachelors degree in Visual Communication from S.N.D.T University, Mumbai and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Still Photography from Columbus College of Art and Design in Columbus, Ohio.
Jennifer Thoreson (Hudson)
Jennifer B Thoreson (Hudson) is a fresh, young visual fine art photographer creating staged imagery that is both artistically stylized and meticulously crafted. Drawing inspirations from themes of faith, restitution and re-purpose, and the intricacy of personal relationships, Jennifer is a dynamic and emotional illustrator of the human heart. With an innate ability to plumb the antique, the work is soulful; seeking the use of the forgotten or discarded, eerie and quiet. Raised in a spiritual and conservative home in rural Texas, Jennifer grew up imaginative, curious, and experimental, and has used her upbringing in her intensely personal artwork to bring insight and awareness using heartfelt, acutely mapped personal experiences. Jennifer is currently working in Albuquerque. New Mexico. she is an MFA Degree Candidate at the University of New Mexico, and is studying within the studio art in Photography program. Alongside varied private portrait commissions, she is an international speaker and lecturer whose programs are sought after year after year by many professional public and private photographic organizations. She has just completed her latest major body of work entitled ‘Medic’, a collection of ten images exploring the breadth of human relationships during illness and recovery. Jennifer’s work has been a part of many group and solo exhibitions, and is represented by three major galleries across the country. Exclusive Interview with Jennifer B Thoreson (Hudson): All About Photo: Where did you study photography? Jennifer Thoreson:The University of New Mexico How long have you been a photographer?About 12 years. What or who inspires you?Thomas Demand, Ann Hamilton, Rachel Whiteread, Francesca Woodman, Deborah Turbeville, Sarah Moon, Gertrude Kassebier, Julia Margaret Cameron Do you have a favorite photograph or series?Deborah Turbeville's Past Imperfect What kind of gear do you use? Camera, lens, digital, film?I have a Nikon D3, and use the 24-70mm 2.8 for just about everything. What advice would you give a young photographer?First, commitment and conviction are paramount. If you combine conviction and energy, you've really got something. Second, be humble, engaged, passionate, and well spoken. An idea, a sentence, a project you would like to share?I'm working on a project now about re-birth and reconciliation. I'm creating large scale installations in each room of a house, and photographing them with human subjects. The house itself, and all of the furnishings are unwanted or discarded items I have collected. I'm repairing them, beautifying, and repurposing them for the photographs; sort of a baptism for each object. The finished work will be photographs; small records, or documents of the transformation. The compliment that touched you most?Someone once told me that one of my photographs helped her to cope and heal from a life crisis. It meant the world to me. If you were someone else who would it be?Imogen Heap.Your favorite photo book?'Francesca Woodman' See the Book
Cristina García Rodero
Cristina García Rodero (born 14 October 1949) is a Spanish photographer and member of Magnum Photos and Agence Vu photo agencies. García Rodero was born in Puertollano, Spain, in 1949, and studied painting at Complutense University of Madrid. She has worked as a teacher. Rodero photographs the persistence of rural traditions in modern times, such as religious rites and festivals in Spain. In Spain she is among the most celebrated documentary photographers. García Rodero joined Magnum Photos in 2005 and became a full member in 2009. The city of Puertollano, where she was born, inaugurated the Cristina García Rodero Museum in 2018. A large part of the photographer's work is exhibited there. The Cristina García Rodero Museum is located in the old municipal museum of Puertollano. There are more than 2,100 square meters distributed over three floors in which are displayed about 200 photographs of the artist.Source: Wikipedia Cristina García Rodero was born in Puertollano, Spain. She studied painting at the School of Fine Arts at the University of Madrid, before taking up photography. She then qualified as a teacher and worked full-time in education. For the next 16 years, she also dedicated her time to researching and photographing popular and traditional festivities – religious and pagan – principally in Spain but also across Mediterranean Europe. This project culminated in her book España Oculta published in 1989, which won the “Book of the Year Award” at the Arles Festival of Photography. The same year, García Rodero also won the prestigious W. Eugene Smith Foundation Prize. The documentary and ethnological value of her work are considerable, but the aesthetic quality of her photography makes it more than a simple visual record. In recent years, Cristina García Rodero has traveled around the world in search of other cultures with particular traditions. Over a period of four years, she went several times to Haiti, where she has documented voodoo rituals, producing a series of expressive portraits and moving scenes flanked by engaging documentary observations. Rituals in Haiti was shown for the first time in the 2001 Venice Biennale. Cristina García Rodero has received many prizes, including the Premio Nacional de Fotografía in 1996 in Spain. Her work has been widely published and exhibited internationally. She has published several books and has been a member of the Vu agency for more than 15 years. García Rodero joined Magnum in 2005 and became a full member in 2009.Source: Magnum Photos
David Seymour (Chim)
United States
1911 | † 1956
David Szymin was born in 1911 in Warsaw into a family of publishers that produced works in Yiddish and Hebrew. His family moved to Russia at the outbreak of the First World War, returning to Warsaw in 1919. After studying printing in Leipzig and chemistry and physics at the Sorbonne in the 1930s, Szymin stayed on in Paris. David Rappaport, a family friend who owned the pioneering picture agency Rap, lent him a camera. One of Szymin's first stories, about night workers, was influenced by Brassaï's Paris de Nuit (1932). Szymin - or 'Chim' - began working as a freelance photographer. From 1934, his picture stories appeared regularly in Paris-Soir and Regards. Through Maria Eisner and the new Alliance agency, Chim met Henri Cartier-Bresson and Robert Capa. From 1936 to 1938 Chim photographed the Spanish Civil War, and after it was over he went to Mexico on an assignment with a group of Spanish Republican émigrés. On the outbreak of the Second World War he moved to New York, where he adopted the name David Seymour. Both his parents were killed by the Nazis. Seymour served in the US Army (1942-45), winning a medal for his work in intelligence. In 1947, along with Cartier-Bresson, Capa, George Rodger, and William Vandivert, he founded Magnum Photos. The following year he was commissioned by UNICEF to photograph Europe's children in need. He went on to photograph major stories across Europe, Hollywood stars on European locations, and the emergence of the State of Israel. After Robert Capa's death he became the new president of Magnum. He held this post until 10 November 1956, when, traveling near the Suez Canal to cover a prisoner exchange, he was killed by Egyptian machine-gun fire. Source: Magnum Photos
William Eggleston
United States
1939
William Eggleston was born in Memphis, Tennessee and raised in Sumner, Mississippi. His father was an engineer and his mother was the daughter of a prominent local judge. As a boy, Eggleston was introverted; he enjoyed playing the piano, drawing, and working with electronics. From an early age, he was also drawn to visual media, and reportedly enjoyed buying postcards and cutting out pictures from magazines. At the age of 15, Eggleston was sent to the Webb School, a boarding establishment. Eggleston later recalled few fond memories of the school, telling a reporter, "It had a kind of Spartan routine to 'build character'. I never knew what that was supposed to mean. It was so callous and dumb. It was the kind of place where it was considered effeminate to like music and painting." Eggleston was unusual among his peers in eschewing the traditional Southern male pursuits of hunting and sports, in favor of artistic pursuits and observation of the world. Nevertheless, Eggleston noted that he never felt like an outsider. "I never had the feeling that I didn't fit in," he told a reporter, "But probably I didn't." Eggleston attended Vanderbilt University for a year, Delta State College for a semester, and the University of Mississippi for about five years, but did not complete any degree. Nonetheless, his interest in photography took root when a friend at Vanderbilt gave Eggleston a Leica camera. He was introduced to abstract expressionism at Ole Miss by visiting painter Tom Young. Eggleston's early photographic efforts were inspired by the work of Swiss-born photographer Robert Frank, and by French photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson's book, The Decisive Moment. Eggleston later recalled that the book was "the first serious book I found, from many awful books...I didn't understand it a bit, and then it sank in, and I realized, my God, this is a great one." First photographing in black-and-white, Eggleston began experimenting with color in 1965 and 1966 after being introduced to the medium by William Christenberry. Color transparency film became his dominant medium in the later 1960s. Eggleston's development as a photographer seems to have taken place in relative isolation from other artists. In an interview, John Szarkowski describes his first encounter with the young Eggleston in 1969 as being "absolutely out of the blue". After reviewing Eggleston's work (which he recalled as a suitcase full of "drugstore" color prints) Szarkowski prevailed upon the Photography Committee of MoMA to buy one of Eggleston's photographs. In 1970, Eggleston's friend William Christenberry introduced him to Walter Hopps, director of Washington, D.C.'s Corcoran Gallery. Hopps later reported being "stunned" by Eggleston's work: "I had never seen anything like it." Eggleston taught at Harvard in 1973 and 1974, and it was during these years that he discovered dye-transfer printing; he was examining the price list of a photographic lab in Chicago when he read about the process. As Eggleston later recalled: "It advertised 'from the cheapest to the ultimate print.' The ultimate print was a dye-transfer. I went straight up there to look and everything I saw was commercial work like pictures of cigarette packs or perfume bottles but the colour saturation and the quality of the ink was overwhelming. I couldn't wait to see what a plain Eggleston picture would look like with the same process. Every photograph I subsequently printed with the process seemed fantastic and each one seemed better than the previous one." The dye-transfer process resulted in some of Eggleston's most striking and famous work, such as his 1973 photograph entitled The Red Ceiling, of which Eggleston said, "The Red Ceiling is so powerful, that in fact I've never seen it reproduced on the page to my satisfaction. When you look at the dye it is like red blood that's wet on the wall.... A little red is usually enough, but to work with an entire red surface was a challenge." At Harvard, Eggleston prepared his first portfolio, entitled 14 Pictures (1974). Eggleston's work was exhibited at MoMA in 1976. Although this was over three decades after MoMa had mounted a solo exhibition of color photographs by Eliot Porter, and a decade after MoMA had exhibited color photographs by Ernst Haas, the tale that the Eggleston exhibition was MoMA's first exhibition of color photography is frequently repeated, and the 1976 show is regarded as a watershed moment in the history of photography, by marking "the acceptance of colour photography by the highest validating institution" (in the words of Mark Holborn). Around the time of his 1976 MoMA exhibition, Eggleston was introduced to Viva, the Andy Warhol "superstar", with whom he began a long relationship. During this period Eggleston became familiar with Andy Warhol's circle, a connection that may have helped foster Eggleston's idea of the "democratic camera", Mark Holborn suggests. Also in the 1970s Eggleston experimented with video, producing several hours of roughly edited footage Eggleston calls Stranded in Canton. Writer Richard Woodward, who has viewed the footage, likens it to a "demented home movie", mixing tender shots of his children at home with shots of drunken parties, public urination and a man biting off a chicken's head before a cheering crowd in New Orleans. Woodward suggests that the film is reflective of Eggleston's "fearless naturalism—a belief that by looking patiently at what others ignore or look away from, interesting things can be seen." Eggleston's published books and portfolios include Los Alamos (completed in 1974, but published much later), William Eggleston's Guide (the catalog of the 1976 MoMa exhibit), the massive Election Eve (1977; a portfolio of photographs taken around Plains, Georgia, the rural seat of Jimmy Carter before the 1976 presidential election), The Morals of Vision (1978), Flowers (1978), Wedgwood Blue (1979), Seven (1979), Troubled Waters (1980), The Louisiana Project (1980), William Eggleston's Graceland (1984; a series of commissioned photographs of Elvis Presley's Graceland, depicting the singer's home as an airless, windowless tomb in custom-made bad taste), The Democratic Forest (1989), Faulkner's Mississippi (1990), and Ancient and Modern(1992). Some of his early series have not been shown until the late 2000s. The Nightclub Portraits (1973), a series of large black-and-white portraits in bars and clubs around Memphis was, for the most part, not shown until 2005. Lost and Found, part of Eggleston's Los Alamos series, is a body of photographs that have remained unseen for decades because until 2008 no one knew that they belonged to Walter Hopps; the works from this series chronicle road trips the artist took with Hopps, leaving from Memphis and traveling as far as the West Coast. Eggleston's Election Eve photographs were not editioned until 2011. Eggleston also worked with filmmakers, photographing the set of John Huston's film Annie (1982) and documenting the making of David Byrne's film True Stories (1986). In 2017 an album of Eggleston's music was released, Musik. It comprises 13 "experimental electronic soundscapes", "often dramatic improvisations on compositions by Bach (his hero) and Haendel as well as his singular takes on a Gilbert and Sullivan tune and the jazz standard On the Street Where You Live." Musik was made entirely on a 1980s Korg synthesiser, and recorded to floppy disks. The 2017 compilation Musik was produced by Tom Lunt, and released on Secretly Canadian. In 2018, Áine O'Dwyer performed the music on a pipe organ at the Big Ears music festival in Knoxville. Source: Wikipedia William Eggleston assumes a neutral gaze and creates his art from commonplace subjects: a farmer's muddy Ford truck, a red ceiling in a friend's house, the contents of his own refrigerator. In his work, Eggleston photographs "democratically"--literally photographing the world around him. His large-format prints monumentalize everyday subjects, everything is equally important; every detail deserves attention. A native Southerner raised on a cotton plantation in the Mississippi Delta, Eggleston has created a singular portrait of his native South since the late 1960s. After discovering photography in the early 1960s, he abandoned a traditional education and instead learned from photographically illustrated books by Walker Evans, Henri Cartier-Bresson, and Robert Frank. Although he began his career making black-and-white images, he soon abandoned them to experiment with color technology to record experiences in more sensual and accurate terms at a time when color photography was largely confined to commercial advertising. In 1976 with the support of John Szarkowski, the influential photography historian, critic, and curator, Eggleston mounted "Color Photographs" a now famous exhibition of his work at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. William Eggleston's Guide , in which Szarkowski called Eggleston's photographs "perfect," accompanied this groundbreaking one-person show that established his reputation as a pioneer of color photography. His subjects were mundane, everyday, often trivial, so that the real subject was seen to be color itself. These images helped establish Eggleston as one of the first non-commercial photographers working in color and inspired a new generation of photographers, as well as filmmakers. Eggleston has published his work extensively. He continues to live and work in Memphis, and travels considerably for photographic projects. Source: The Getty Museum
Aline Smithson
United States
After a career as a New York Fashion Editor and working along side the greats of fashion photography, Aline Smithson discovered the family Rolleiflex and never looked back. An artist now represented by galleries in the U.S. and Europe and published throughout the world, Aline continues to create her award-winning photography with humor, compassion, and a 50-year-old camera. She has exhibited widely including solo shows at the Griffin Museum of Photography, the Center of Fine Art Photography, the Fort Collins Museum of Contemporary Art, the Lishui Festival in China, the Tagomago Gallery in Barcelona and Paris, and the Wallspace Gallery in Seattle and Santa Barbara. In addition, her work is held in a number of museum collections. Her photographs have been featured in publications including The New Yorker, PDN (cover), the PDN Photo Annual, Communication Arts Photo Annual, Eyemazing, Soura, Visura, Fraction, Artworks, Lenswork Extended, Shots, Pozytyw, Incandescant, Square and Silvershotz magazines. amongst others. In 2012, Aline received the Rising Star Award through the Griffin Museum of Photography for her contributions to the photographic community. She also was presented with the 2014 Excellence in Teaching Award from CENTER. In 2014, Aline's photographs were selected for the Critical Mass Top 50, the PDN Photo Annual, and Review Santa Fe. In 2015, she was awarded First Place Portraiture in the 7th Edition of the Julia Margaret Cameron Awards for Women Photographers and again received the Julia Margaret Cameron Award in the 8th Edition. Aline founded and writes the blogzine, Lenscratch, that celebrates a different contemporary photographer each day and offers opportunity for exhibition. She has been the Gallery Editor for Light Leaks Magazine, a contributing writer for Diffusion, Don't Take Pictures, Lucida, and F Stop Magazines, has written book reviews for photoeye, and has provided the forwards for artist's books by Tom Chambers, Flash Forward 12, Robert Rutoed, Nancy Baron, Meg Griffiths amongst others. Aline has curated and jurored exhibitions for a number of galleries, organizations, and on-line magazines. She was an overall juror in 2012 for Review Santa Fe, a juror for Critical Mass from 2009-2016, a juror and curator for Flash Forward, and is a reviewer at many photo festivals across the United States. Aline is also a founding member of the Six Shooters collective. In the Fall of 2015, the Magenta Foundation released a retrospective monograph of Aline's photographs. She lives and works in Los Angeles and considers her children her greatest achievement. Discover Aline Smithson's Interview Find out more about Self & Others
Flokje Van Lith
Netherlands
1969
Flokje van Lith (1969, Leiden, NL) studied photography at the Royal Academy of Arts, the Hague. Van Lith belongs to the first generation of artists to make full use of the newest Photoshop techniques. With apparent ease, she plays with the different realities that have developed independently of one another within the media of painting and photography. But appearance deceives; the making of the photograph is merely the first in a long line of decisions. The task of achieving the right result takes Van Lith weeks and sometimes months. In her work she explores childhood and its underlying traumas and issues as well as the beauty of innocence and adolescence. The final results, complex portraits of children and young adults, not only have a very aesthetic quality but also seem to tell the story of the subject.The influences of the Flemish Primitives, which can be found in the serenity of the works, but also the personal experience of the artist, resonate from the artworks. Van Lith won several awards for her work, such as the Silver Award (International Photography Awards), Silver Award (PX3 - Prix de la Photographie) and Third Place (Kontinent Awards). In addition her works have been exhibited at photo festivals nationally and internationally, such as Photo Festival Naarden and Photoville, New York. Awards: Kontinent Awards: Third Place, Fine-Art/ Single Image/ Professional, International Photography Awards: 8 x Honorable Mention, Fine-Art/ Portrait/ Professional, Fine Art Photo Awards: Professional Nominee, Portrait/Professional, International Color Awards 2015: Honorable Mention, Portrait/ Professional - International Photography Awards 2014: Silver Award, Fine-Art/ Professional - PX3-Prix de la Photographie, Paris, 2014: Silver Award, Fine-Art/ Professional - International Photography Award 2014: 8 x Honorable Mention, Fine-Art/ Professional - New Dutch Photography Talent 2013 - International Photography Award 2013: 4 x Honorable Mention, Fine-Art/ Professional - Photography Masters Cup 2011: 4 x Honorable Mention, Fine-Art/ Professional - International Photography Award 2011: 7 x Honorable Mention, Fine-Art/ Professional. Exhibitions: (Selection), 2015: Aqua Art Miami (USA), Art Fair COLOGNE (Germany), PAN Amsterdam, KunstRai, Rotterdam Contemporary Art Fair, LXRY (the Netherlands), 2014: Affordable Art Fair Hamburg (Germany), PAN Amsterdam, LXRY, Affordable Art Fair, Raw Art Fair, Realisme (the Netherlands), 2013: LXRY, PAN Amsterdam, Affordable Art Fair, (the Netherlands), 2012, Art Miami Context, Photoville New York, Art Wynwood (USA), PAN Amsterdam (the Netherlands), 2011: PAN Amsterdam, Photofestival Naarden (the Netherlands). Publications: 2015: LXRY Magazine, PF Magazine, 2014: Art Photo Feature (USA), 2013: Gooi en Eemlander (the Netherlands) 2012: Volkskrant Magazine, De Telegraaf, Haarlems Dagblad (the Netherlands)
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Call for Entries
AAP Magazine #25: B&W
Publish your work in AAP Magazine and win $1,000 Cash Prizes