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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

David Vasilev
David Vasilev was born in Stara Zagora, Bulgaria in 1981, where he spent his early years. Ever since he was a little kid, he was always surrounded by photojournalists, his dad being one of them. This had a great impact on his perception of the world, thus photography become a necessary tool for self-expression. After he moved to the United States he begun his extensive journey to find inspiration in the cultural contrasts of North America. To observe is to spend more time looking through the lens than photographing. That is how I catch elusive moments of reality in a single frame. Growing up in a culturally mixed neighborhood in Stara Zagora, Bulgaria, defined me as a person and as a photographer. I’ve captured the raw human spirit in people distanced from society—the joy and sadness they feel just by surviving, alongside the simplicity we lack. I follow my instincts without looking back, which has led me to fascinating places. I’ve visited forgotten parts of the United States, time capsules filled with pure instinct and the most archaic traces of human nature still intact. In one excursion I visited the Hutterites—a German-speaking colony located in the prairies of the Dakotas. I felt their sincere hospitality instantly, even when they couldn't understand why I was there to begin with or what photography even was. They maintained a humble existence that I wanted to preserve on film. With time, they got used to me being there, and my presence was gradually ignored. Only then did I witness and photograph their essence: the realness of their daily lives, creating a visual memory of this time and place. I will never forget the children. One day a girl with curious eyes approached me quietly and asked, "Have you seen the ocean?" David Vasilev
Josef Sudek
Czech Republic
1896 | † 1976
Josef Sudek was a Czech photographer, best known for his photographs of Prague. Sudek was originally a bookbinder. During The First World War he was drafted into the Austro-Hungarian Army in 1915 and served on the Italian Front until he was wounded in the right arm in 1916. Although he had no experience with photography and was one-handed due to his amputation, he was given a camera. After the war he studied photography for two years in Prague under Jaromir Funke. His Army disability pension gave him leeway to make art, and he worked during the 1920s in the romantic Pictorialist style. Always pushing at the boundaries, a local camera club expelled him for arguing about the need to move forwards from 'painterly' photography. Sudek then founded the progressive Czech Photographic Society in 1924. Despite only having one arm, he used large, bulky cameras with the aid of assistants. Sudek's photography is sometimes said to be modernist. But this is only true of a couple of years in the 1930s, during which he undertook commercial photography and thus worked "in the style of the times". Primarily, his personal photography is neo-romantic. Sudek's restored atelier in Prague – Újezd His early work included many series of light falling in the interior of St. Vitus cathederal. During and after World War II Sudek created haunting night-scapes and panoramas of Prague, photographed the wooded landscape of Bohemia, and the window-glass that led to his garden (the famous The Window of My Atelier series). He went on to photograph the crowded interior of his studio (the Labyrinths series). His first Western show was at George Eastman House in 1974 and he published 16 books during his life. Known as the "Poet of Prague", Sudek never married, and was a shy, retiring person. He never appeared at his exhibit openings and few people appear in his photographs. Despite the privations of the war and Communism, he kept a renowned record collection of classical music. (Source: en.wikipedia.org)
Sol Hill
United States
1971
Sol Hill was born in Albuquerque, NM in 1971, to artist parents who founded the first contemporary art gallery in Santa Fe. His early memories were of being with his parents in their respective studios and of being in their gallery in Santa Fe. As a child the mysterious objects and paintings that pervaded the gallery intrigued him. Contemporary art works were prevalent both in the gallery and at home. Looking at those artworks felt like observing some secret alchemical language that Hill wished to learn. Growing up, Hill lived all across the United States, and in Jamaica and Germany. He majored in International Affairs and German at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, OR and at Maximilian Ludwig Universität in Munich, Germany. He also studied printmaking in college and then became deeply involved with photography while in Germany. He later returned to Santa Fe and founded Zen Stone Furnishings with his wife, a paper artist from Brazil. Together they designed and manufactured hand crafted home furnishings from stone, twigs, copper and handmade paper. After an intense medical crisis, Hill decided to dedicate himself to fine art. He went on to study photography at the Brooks Institute in Santa Barbara, where he received an MFA in 2010. Hill travels regularly and often to Brazil to visit his wife’s family. Travel has powerfully affected his vision as an artist. Although Hill uses some of the latest digital photographic equipment and embraces digital photography, he finds that he is drawn to the kind of liberation found in embracing the mysterious and unfamiliar rather than that which is crisply defined and well known.About Token Feminine:The mannequin is a token feminine used to impart cultural conventions of the idealized female image In this body of work I examine mannequins in storefront windows as symbols of consumer culture. I see them as emblems upon which the desire and fantasy of sex and fashion are draped and from which complex valuations of body image are ingested. The mannequin is a token feminine presence used to impart cultural conventions of the idealized female image. I dissipate these literal mannequin pictures by interrupting the expected information and accepting the digital noise, which are undesirable artifacts produced by false exposure, inherent to the process of capturing digital images. This allows me to explore the nature of the boundary between the reverie of the token feminine and the reality of the commercial icon.About Urban Noise:I seek stillness within the modern day information overload through the act of unconventional street photography. Urban Noise combines an exploration of the aesthetic and conceptual value of digital noise in photography with a contemplative study of the contemporary urban environment. Digital noise is a reviled artifact inherent to digital imaging. I challenge the notion that this artifact is inherently worthless by using it to render photographs into contemporary visual tropes. It is my tool to address the digital nature of the contemporary world. Digital noise is false exposure produced by energies other than light, namely heat, electrical current and “cosmic noise.” Cosmic noise is the term for invisible wavelength energies comprised in part of man-made signals from our built and technological environment mixed with the electro magnetic energy produced by human bodies. The resulting noise from these interfering energies transforms my photographs. The contemporary urban environment is flooded with so much extraneous information that we necessarily turn most of it into background noise to survive. There is so much conflicting information competing for our attention that I am intrigued by how we sort out what is worthy of our attention, from meaningless background noise. I seek my own stillness within the overwhelming cacophony of modern day information overload through the act of unconventional street photography.
Margo Davis
United States
1944
Margo Baumgarten Davis is a photographer, educator and author of several photographer's books. Margo was raised in Connecticut and has lived for over 30 years in Palo Alto, California. She attended Bennington College, spent time at the Sorbonne studying French literature, and graduated from University of California, Berkeley. It was at UC Berkeley where she met her first husband Gregson Davis and traveled frequently to his home country of Antigua. She has a daughter, Anika and a son, Julian. Davis has produced photography in Paris, Italy, Nigeria and in the Caribbean, and has done a significant amount of portraiture. Davis has photographed Saul Bellow, Maxine Kingston, Tillie Olsen, Ursula K. Le Guin, Diane Johnson, and Kay Boyle. In Nigeria, Davis produced a number of photographs of the Fula people. Davis has spent time lecturing at Stanford on photojournalism with the communications department. She has also taught photography at University of California, Berkeley, and University of California, Santa Cruz. In 2017, Margo's book Antigua: Photographs 1967-1973 was published by Nazraeli Press. At interview, Margo said she produced the book after hearing interest expressed at an exhibit in Antigua. Antigua As young artists, we are drawn to projects that help us understand truths about who we are and what we want to become. When we are just starting out, that process is intuitive, at times random; it is also intense and thrilling. This was my experience when I began photographing in Antigua in 1967. It was the very beginning of a long journey in photography that is evolving to this day, 40 years later. From my first days in Antigua, I was overwhelmed by the timeless beauty of the place and especially by the strength of its people. I was born on the East Coast of the United States, a few thousand miles to the north. I was welcomed into a world and culture different from my own. Starting with the Antigua photographs in this exhibit, my life's journey has been with a camera and with an eye for the landscape of the human face. Although I was often moved to photograph the beaches and sunsets, and the shapely old sugar mills and estate houses of the island, I am primarily a portraitist. Drawn to the people of the villages that dotted the island, my early inspirations came from the faces you see here. Whenever possible, I asked permission to photograph - because the power of my portrait style depended on the comfort of the people that I was photographing. Since those early years, my interest in humanistic photography has propelled me into the world of various cultures. I have exhibited those photographs internationally and produced four books. However, it was on the island of Antigua where my passion for photography first began to flourish. Antigua Black; Portrait of an Island People was created and published in 1973. I want to thank again all the Antiguans who helped make this collection possible. Margo Davis Discover All American
Lee Friedlander
United States
1934
Lee Friedlander (born July 14, 1934) is an American photographer and artist. In the 1960s and 70s, working primarily with 35mm cameras and black and white film, Friedlander evolved an influential and often imitated visual language of urban "social landscape," with many of his photographs including fragments of store-front reflections, structures framed by fences, posters and street-signs. Friedlander studied photography at the Art Center College of Design located in Pasadena, California. In 1956, he moved to New York City where he photographed jazz musicians for record covers. His early work was influenced by Eugène Atget, Robert Frank, and Walker Evans. In 1960, the Guggenheim Memorial Foundation awarded Friedlander a grant to focus on his art and made subsequent grants in 1962 and 1977. Some of his most famous photographs appeared in the September 1985 Playboy, black and white nude photographs of Madonna from the late 1970s. A student at the time, she was paid only $25 for her 1979 set. In 2009, one of the images fetched $37,500 at a Christie's Art House auction. Working primarily with Leica 35mm cameras and black and white film, Friedlander's style focused on the "social landscape". His photographs used detached images of urban life, store-front reflections, structures framed by fences, and posters and signs all combining to capture the look of modern life. In 1963, the International Museum of Photography at George Eastman House mounted Friedlander's first solo exhibition. Friedlander was then a key figure in curator John Szarkowski's 1967 "New Documents" exhibition, at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City along with Garry Winogrand and Diane Arbus. In 1973, his work was honored in Rencontres d'Arles festival (France) with the screening "Soirée américaine : Judy Dater, Jack Welpott, Jerry Uelsmann, Lee Friedlander" présentée par Jean-Claude Lemagny. In 1990, the MacArthur Foundation awarded Friedlander a MacArthur Fellowship. Friedlander now works primarily with medium format cameras (e.g. Hasselblad Superwide). Whilst suffering from arthritis and housebound, he focused on photographing his surroundings. His book, Stems, reflects his life during the time of his knee replacement surgery. He has said that his "limbs" reminded him of plant stems. These images display textures which were not a feature of his earlier work. In this sense, the images are similar to those of Josef Sudek who also photographed the confines of his home and studio. He was awarded The Royal Photographic Society's Special 150th Anniversary Medal and Honorary Fellowship (HonFRPS) in recognition of a sustained, significant contribution to the art of photography in 2003. In 2005, the Museum of Modern Art presented a major retrospective of Friedlander's career, including nearly 400 photographs from the 1950s to the present. In the same year he received a Hasselblad International Award. The retrospective exhibition was presented again in 2008 at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Concurrent to this retrospective, a more contemporary body of his work, America By Car, was displayed at the Fraenkel Gallery, also in San Francisco. "America By Car" was on display at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City in late 2010. He is the father of cellist Erik Friedlander, and Anna Friedlander. Source: Wikipedia
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Call for Entries
AAP Magazine #17: Portrait
Publish your work in our printed magazine and win $1,000 cash prizes