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Michael Nguyen
Michael Nguyen
Michael Nguyen

Michael Nguyen

Country: Germany
Birth: 1958

Michael Nguyen is a photo artist and documentary photographer living near Munich, Germany. He takes photographs since 1988. He has been living in Munich since 2007 and moved to Gauting near Munich in 2015. After a long break in the cultural sector and after a sickness he has dedicated himself 2018 entirely to art again. He is an artist and a photographic poet who moves away from the mainstream, at the same time blurs genres. Most of the time, he focuses on small, ordinary things but through the subjective lens, he give them new perspectives, a new soul.

I found my way to photography when I was a journalist for art and culture. One of my main subjects was "Greece", and there was a lot to do with photography. Then, in close cooperation with Dr. Matthias Harder (now Director of the Helmut Newton Foundation, Berlin), we laid the foundation for understanding the photographs of Herbert List and Walter Hege. Since then, photography has opened up a whole new world to me.

Michael Nguyen roamed various cities in Bavaria during the Corona pandemic. A focus of his works since COVID-19 are urban landscapes as well as urban spaces in different cities. Urban spaces can all enrich a life between buildings. Since Covid-19, social interaction in the Urban landscapes with their spaces has lain fallow. Michael Nguyen conveys this sensitively in his mostly "deserted pictures“. Nguyen enters the motifs of his urban landscapes with a great deal of empathy. He makes the city, urban landscapes and architecture visible and documents them for posterity. With his artistic documentary photography he refers to a reality that we all know, but interprets this reality with his images.

Everywhere I go, my eyes and senses are in motion. With my camera I capture little things that we often don't notice in everyday life.

At the BIFA Budapest International Foto Awards 2020 his artwork "Antimatter" was awarded in December 2020 with Gold. In addition to his artistic activities, Michael Nguyen is in Editor-in-chief of the online magazine for photography and art: Tagree.

End of March 2021 Michael Nguyen is nominated for the Tassilo Culture Prize of the Süddeutsche Zeitung. Süddeutsche Zeitung (SZ) is a German national daily newspaper. It is published in Munich. SZ is the second largest daily newspaper in Germany (as of October 2020). Promoting the cultural sector in the Munich area and motivating creative artists (these are the goals of the Tassilo Culture Prize), which the Süddeutsche Zeitung is offering for the eleventh time this year. The SZ Prize is named after the Bavarian Duke Tassilo.

Statement
Our head is round so that thinking can change direction - a sentence by the writer and artist Francis Picabia, who inspired me as a young man interested in art and the art scene. Art broadened my perspectives and saved my soul. In the 1980s and 1990s I was a journalist, poet, photographer and event manager. After almost two decades, I found my way back to art in the dark times of my life in early 2018. Yes, once again art has saved my soul. Everywhere I go, my eyes and senses are in motion. With my camera I capture little things that we often don't notice in everyday life.


The power of design and the contradictions between art and life
Munich's most colorful shopping center facade by Prof. Dr. Rainer Funke

When will the containers be loaded? Such a question comes to mind when approaching the shopping mall built in 2008 from a distance. But stop! The intense colors of the seemingly stacked cubes and their sophisticated composition immediately give rise to other associations. As if someone had created a special order out of building blocks. One wonders whether this is already the perfect final state, as one tries to create with the Magic Cube, for example.

The variety of combinations seems too great for this. Both that of the colors and that of the surface structures. Added to this are the manifold reflections and the astonishing visual dynamics. One does not seem to move past the building itself, but its facades begin to run, to turn, to flow. One is almost reminded of the dancing of the facades and interiors of baroque courtly buildings in downtown Munich. Instead of baroque figurativeness, however, here it is geometry.

The closer one gets, the more details become visible. No, these are neither containers nor building blocks. The prismatic shape of the colored and reflective metal plates gives the building shell pronounced plasticity. One would not have expected so much sophistication from a shopping center, especially not here, where Munich hardly has anything typically Munich anymore and is fraying into the landscape.

Whether red voluptuousness with bold blue, pastel sweetness, noble gold, lush, or pale green: the overwhelming power of color is, of course, the basic theme of the series of images, always in powerfully soaring, a contrast-rich vertical sequence of seemingly endless parallels.

Michael Nguyen's imposing photographs take us very close to this color organ. They make us stand at attention on the parade ground of the verticals. Especially the severity of the composition in detail becomes a theme.

This gesture appears once again mercilessly emphasized by Nguyen's camera, as refractions and disturbances emerge from close up. Two framed, square blue lockers, for instance, according to their dimensions probably placed on a blue ground with metallic fittings not colored blue - the attempt to hide them has failed. Nguyen places them in the center. The wonderful striped pattern is disturbed in this way, less perfect and also a bit more lifelike. We experience something similar with the door locks (here the hinges additionally form a counter-rotating rhythm), the intercom, and the stickers on two other images. As a photographer, Michael Nguyen is as uninhibitedly consistent as the facades depicted want to be but cannot be in the storm of life and entropy.

The mirrored surfaces evoke almost poetic associations when nature and urban space gently and carefully combine in them (in one picture, the soft shapes of the snow remains are added). Here, too, Nguyen is provocative. One picture is intended to irritate through eight seemingly irregular horizontal cuts in the surrounding colour surfaces. And, of course, dirt and trash. Such a design focused on geometric color perfection is highly moralistic. It points its moral finger in full size at the viewers, admonishing us not to disturb order, to preserve perfection and cleanliness. When we then perceive small discarded things and in addition a dirty floor or even dirty facade surfaces, it hits us with full force. At the same time, we are referred to the particularity and artistic rapture of the facade. Even a traffic sign, placed somewhat askew and in turn, defaced with remnants of a sticker, emphasizes the distance of the art object from life. Even the clash of different grid dimensions of the facade strips and the paving of the sidewalk draws attention and distances. Here nothing has grown out of the ground, where it has been landed. This impression is further emphasized by the filigree grid structure of the surfaces pointing to the left.

If then still objects stand before the work of art, like a somewhat demolished container for the clothes collection, an ashtray (nevertheless in strict vertical-orthogonal high-grade steel form and exactly aligned), or admittedly color-coordinated garbage can one wished a ban mile for objects around the building. People appear in two photos. They make us breathe a sigh of relief: yes, the whole thing is made for people. The two people in a picture, shot somewhat voyeuristically behind a lamppost, could, however, already be a bit tighter, more upright, and perhaps defilade past the facade in step! The man with his shopping cart, on the other hand, seems to want to save himself from the austerity of the backdrop into the organic world of the leafy settlement.

In an impressive way, Michael Nguyen presents us with this photo series of a building as a work of art and thus points us to the power of design but also to the contradictions between art and life.

Prof. Dr. Rainer Funke researches and publishes on design-theoretical issues from a semiotic, cultural-theoretical and philosophical perspective and works as a design consultant for companies. He teaches design theory at the Potsdam University of Applied Sciences. After studying philosophy at Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, he earned his doctorate in semiotics and subsequently worked in design-theoretical research at Burg Giebichenstein - University of Art and Design Halle. In 1992, he was appointed to Potsdam as the founding dean of the Department of Design. Rainer Funke was the owner of a design agency, chairman of the board of the Brandenburg Design Center, and visiting professor at the University of Art and Industrial Design Linz.

Design theory is supposed to motivate in an enlightening way by conveying methods for the analysis of design, especially for the manifold relations between perceptible forms of artifacts and their meanings in the context of the process of use. Design theory explicates modes of action and historically founded developmental relationships of design and their various influencing factors. (Prof. Dr. Rainer Funke)

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William Heick
United States
1916 | † 2012
William Heick (October 6, 1916 – September 13, 2012) was a San Francisco-based photographer and filmmaker. He is best known for his ethnographic photographs and documentary films of North American Indian cultures. W.R. Heick served as producer-director and chief cinematographer for the Anthropology Department of the University of California, Berkeley on their National Science Foundation supported American Indian Film Project. His photographs capture the life and culture of Native Americans from the Kwakiutl, Kashaya Pomo, Hupa, Navajo, Blackfoot and Sioux. He filmed a number of award winning films in this series along with the documentaries Pomo Shaman and Sucking Doctor, a Pomo doctoring ceremony considered by anthropologists to be one of the most complete and outstanding films of an aboriginal ceremony made to date. William Heick's career in photography began as a naval intelligence photographer during World War Two in the Pacific. After the war he studied photography at California School of Fine Arts (now the San Francisco Art Institute) under such notable teachers as Ansel Adams and Minor White. He became lifelong friends with Imogen Cunningham and Dorothea Lange and regards these two photographers as the primary influences on his photographic work. William Heick filmed two documentaries about Pacific Northwest Indian tribes, Blunden Harbour (1951) and Dances of the Kwakiutl (1951). W.R. Heick worked through most of the 1950s and 1960s as producer-director, assistant historian and cinematographer for the worldwide engineering firm of Bechtel Corporation. While with Bechtel he wrote and filmed documentaries of their major projects with special emphasis on ethnic and social consideration in remote areas of the Arctic, South America, Africa, Greenland, Europe, The Middle East, Australia, Indonesia and the islands of New Guinea and Bougainville. From 1956 to 1964 Heick was involved with C. Cameron Macauley in the American Indian Film Project, a project to document Native American cultures through film and sound recordings, working closely with Alfred Kroeber and Samuel Barrett. William Heick produced two documentaries for the Quakers. Beauty for Ashes documents the Quaker's project to rebuild 40 churches that had been burned by nightriders during Mississippi's racial strife in the turbulent 1960s. Voyage of the Phoenix documents the controversial voyage of the yacht Phoenix, which sailed through the American battle fleet during the Vietnam War to deliver medical supplies to North Vietnam when the bombing of that beleaguered country was at its peak. In the late 1960s and early 1970s W.R. Heick served as cinematographer on three feature films, all for the director/artist Fredric Hobbs: Troika (1969, co-directed by Gordon Mueller), Alabama's Ghost (1973), and The Godmonster of Indian Flat (1973). During the mid-1970s, working as an independent producer with Gordon Mueller, W.R. Heick produced the Indonesian Dance Series. This series, funded with grants from Caltex Pacific Indonesia and Pertamina, documents fourteen traditional dance performances from the islands of Java, Bali, Sumatra and Kalimantan. W.R. Heick's later films include The Other China, a four-part mini-series filmed on location in Taiwan in 1988 documenting the social and cultural fabric of Taiwan. His fine art photography has been exhibited at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the California Palace of the Legion of Honor, the de Young Museum, the Seattle Museum of Art, the Henry Gallery (University of Washington), the Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology, and the University Art Gallery (Cal State at Chico) among others. His photographs have been selected for the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Smithsonian Institution, the High Museum of Art, Atlanta, the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, and the Monterey Peninsula Museum of Art. In a published Art Scene review Monterey landscape artist and art critic Rick Deregon wrote: "The special qualities of W.R. Heick's images come from the simple relationship between the photographer and subject. With no agenda other than to capture the decisive inspirational moment and to illustrate the human parade Mr. Heick's work transcends straight journalism and aspires to an art of nobility and compassion."Source: Wikipedia William Heick was born October 6th, 1916. Spanning seven decades, Heick's career in photography and filmmaking has covered locations all over the world. Heick grew up in Kentucky and attended the University of Cincinnati. He married Jeanne Ridge in 1942, and served as a naval intelligence photographer in the Pacific during World War II. After the war, he continued his education at San Francisco State University. He also attended the California School of Fine Arts (now known as the San Francisco Art Institute), where he studied photography, painting, and sculpture under distinguished instructors such as Ansel Adams and Minor White. It was during this period that he met and made lifelong friends with photographers Imogen Cunningham and Dorothea Lange, both of whom he regards as primary influences on his photographic work. His fine art photography has been exhibited in institutions such as San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, DeYoung Museum, and Seattle Museum of Art, among many others. He has produced over 200 films and thousands of photographs. At the age of 94, when asked to sum up his prolific career, he simply stated, "it sure beats working!"Source: Peter Fetterman Gallery
Graeme Williams
South Africa
1961
I grew up in the whites-only suburbs of Cape Town, South Africa during the apartheid era when South African law decreed that 92% of the population were regulated to the status of second-class citizens. My interest in photography began at the age of twelve, but I soon realized that a Kodak Instamatic was never going to produce the results that I wanted. I worked for three years in a bookshop and eventually bought myself a Fujica ST701. It was a real thing of beauty; a single reflex camera with a basic zoom lens, that provided me with the means to control how light formed itself onto the surface of the silver halide film. Sunsets and silhouettes held my attention for a few months, but I had already begun to explore the complex tradition of photographic expression. Life Magazine was for me, at that time, the Holy Grail. Over the years, my enthusiasm for exploring the photographic medium has never diminished. My photographic momentum was temporarily diverted after school by parental pressure to obtain a 'proper' qualification. In my final school year, I was both the Dux scholar as well as a first-team sportsman, which resulted in me being offered a De Beers bursary to study Geology and Statistics at the University of Cape Town. After graduating, I broke the news to my unnerved parents that I was giving up this career path and instead of becoming a property photographer at the local newspaper. In the hierarchy of photographic jobs, this is very close to the bottom. My immediate aim was to gain access to unlimited amounts of film and the time to work on my own projects. In 1987 I began photographing a conscientious objector and medical doctor, Ivan Toms, who refused to comply with the apartheid government's military service requirements. He was sentenced to 21 months in prison. The essay highlighted the absurdity of the political system. Renowned photographer, David Goldblatt, took an interest in this work and this interaction led to a three-decade relationship in which he became both a mentor and a friend. The rights to my essay on Ivan Toms were bought by Life magazine the following year. Much of my work during this period was motivated by the desire to expose the social inequalities and racial divisions within my country. I eventually joined the strongly anti-apartheid collective, Afrapix, and later became a founding member and manager of the documentary collective, South Photographs. In 1989, the beginning of the end of apartheid was evident. I was eager to situate myself in a position that would afford me the best opportunities to witness the transition to democracy. I joined Reuters News Agency as a permanent stringer and for the next five years, I became immersed in the events, both violent and momentous, that led up to the inauguration of Nelson Mandela as president in 1994. Many of my photographs from this period have taken on a life of their own. The image of Nelson Mandela walking out of prison with his wife, Winnie, has been exhibited and published worldwide. In 2008, as Barack Obama fought John McCain for the presidency, Newsweek magazine ran a story asking each candidate to choose an image that best personified their worldview. Obama's team chose an image that I photographed in Thokoza township in 1991. Last year the same photograph became central in a high-profile image-appropriation dispute between me and New York artist, Hank Willis Thomas. There was a massive groundswell of support from colleagues and media from around the world. An amicable settlement was reached. Since 1994 I have concentrated on producing personalized and contemporary bodies of work that reflect this complex country and the continent as a whole. These essays have been shown in solo exhibitions in New York, London, Paris, Cape Town, and Johannesburg as well as numerous photo festivals around the world. (Including China, Singapore, Brazil, Cambodia, France, and the USA). I have been privileged to have been included in major international exhibitions showcasing contemporary South African photography; including Figures and Fictions at London's Victoria and Albert Museum, Apartheid and After at Huis Marseille in Amsterdam, Earth Matters at the Smithsonian in New York, The Rise and Fall of Apartheid at the ICP in New York and Being There, at the Louis Vuitton Foundation in Paris. Awards include the CAP Prize for Contemporary African Photography (Basel) in 2013 and the Ernest Cole Award (South Africa) in the same year. I have continued working on commissioned assignments and traveling to over fifty countries. My photographs have appeared on the cover of Time magazine twice, and have been published in The New York Times Magazine, National Geographic, Newsweek, Stern, and many others. Whilst working on my long-term projects, I try to bear in mind how the work will be exhibited and published. So, therefore, during the planning and photographing stages, I attempt to create a broad context for my essays, that includes a general look and feel while creating the space for each image to convey its individual complexity. This need to develop a dual awareness in my personal work has benefitted me from a long-term interest in designing and producing photobooks. I have created over 20 publications, some of them winning awards and many being shortlisted in dummy book competitions. During the past five years, I have felt a need to shift my attention from South Africa to the American social, political, and physical landscape. Some of my motivations for this change in direction have been outlined within the 'Plan' document. In 2016 I was granted a residency in the US by the Ampersand Foundation, giving me an opportunity to develop a body of work that interrogated the social strata within the greater community of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. I designed and produced a book called, Diverging Dreamlines that included, portraits, urban landscapes as well as multi-image, digital, illustrations. The publication was chosen as "best of the show" in the Annual Photobook Exhibition at the Griffin Museum of Photography in Winchester, Massachusetts. The work was also included in the Unmasked exhibition at Axis Gallery, New York in 2017. Earlier this year (2019) I co-presented a paper, Over Time, at the International Psychoanalytical Association (IPA) Congress held in London. Four of my personal essays were incorporated into the presentation, allowing a psychoanalytical exploration into the parallels between this photographic record and South Africa's dynamics and process of change. I have participated in various mentorship programs, supporting students from South African photographic institutions: Tierney Fellowship winners from the University of the Witwatersrand (2018/2019) and the Market Photo Workshop (2015/2016). As well as candidates from the Photographer incubator Program in 2016. Learn more about Graeme Williams on videos: Victoria and Albert Museum Photography and Democracy South African Studios Dwell in Possibility opening Check out Graeme Williams's interview about his latest project America Revisited
Nanna Heitmann
Germany/ Russia
Nanna Heitmann is a German/ Russian documentary photographer, based between Russia and Germany. Her work has been published by TIME Magazine, M Le Magazine du Monde, De Volkskrant, Stern Magazine and she has worked on assignments for outlets including The New York Times, TIME Magazine, The Washington Post and Stern Magazine. She has received awards that include the Leica Oscar Barnack Newcomer Award, the Ian Parry Award of Achievement. Nanna Heitmann joined Magnum as a nominee in 2019. Hiding from Baba Yaga "Vasilisa was running faster than she had ever run before. Soon she could hear the witch, Baba Yaga's mortar bumping on the ground behind her. Desperately, she remembered the thin black cat's words and threw the towel behind her on the ground. The towel grew bigger and bigger, and wetter and wetter, and soon a deep, broad river stood between the little girl and Baba Yaga. Vasilisa threw the comb behind her, and the comb grew bigger and bigger, and its teeth sprouted up into a thick forest, so thick that not even Baba Yaga could force her way through. And Baba Yaga the witch, the bony-legged one, gnashing her teeth and screaming with rage and disappointment, finally turned round and drove away back to her little hut on hen's legs." From time immemorial people have sought protection and freedom on the banks of the Yenisei and the adjacent wild taiga. For a long time, the banks of the Yenisei have been pervaded by nomadic peoples. The Russians, coming from the west, chased by the greed for valuable fur, did not reach the river until 1607. Criminals, escaped serfs, apostates or simply adventurers, joined together in wild rider associations and expanded ever deeper into the vast wild Taiga. The life of the settlers in Siberia was free and self-determined for the time. Old believers settled on lonely banks of the Yenisei to escape the persecution of the Tsar and later the Soviets. With Stalin the Yenisei became a place of exile and forced labor. The Soviets not only chained the native peoples, but also the Yenisei. With two giant dams they created lakes of almost 400km length. Villages sank in the water, the climate changed. A dense fog swept over the river. The USSR is history. Today, most people are drawn to big cities like Moscow or St Petersburg. Therefore the Yenisei turns more and more into a space for dreamers and loners to escape the worldly world. Not far from the banks of the Yenisei lives Yuri, who has built a small hut on a landfill. Here he can find food for his 15 former street dogs, here he lives freely. Nothing keeps him in the city, where thick coal dust covers the white snow in winter. "All my friends are in the cemetery. Drugs or alcohol." Following the stream of the Yenisei north one encounters Valentin. An self claimed anarch ecologist - a former officer, traumatized by war missions. Today he lives on his small property in the forest. Even at minus 50 degrees, he sleeps outside by the fire. From endless wars he has enough. "All the people of this world, live together in peace and protect your forests." Only to those who threaten the Siberian forests he declares war. "We have a wonderful forest. How many tress grow here. But we need more forests to breathe. Humanity destroyed our forests. These must be revived immediately. " Not far from the source of the Yenisei, Vaselisa lives in the village of Old Believers. Her parents are both deaf and the only heathens in a village that lives strictly to century-old rituals. She doesn't like the children in her village. Her only friend lives in the village of Sissim. While summer holidays the Yenisei and a walk separates them from each other. Encountering all this different people, there is a bond which connects them with each other. The seek of freedom, protection, imprisonment and isolation. The Yenisei and its woods become a metaphor of a dreamscape: Loneliness, unfulfilled dreams, death, abandoned hopes shape people as much as the vast nature, which at the same time gives so much freedom and places of retreat.
Colin Jones
United Kingdom
1936
Colin Jones is an English ballet dancer-turned-photographer and prolific photojournalist of post-war Britain. Jones documented facets of social history as diverse as the vanishing industrial working lives of the North East coalfields, Grafters, delinquent Afro-Caribbean youth in London, The Black House, hedonistic 1960s Swinging London with pictures of The Who early in their career, the 1963 race riots in Alabama, Soviet Leningrad, and remnants of a rural Britain now lost to history. Jones was born in 1936. He experienced a war childhood; his father, a Poplar, East End printer, went away as a soldier on the Burma campaign. Jones' family was evacuated to Essex and he attended a succession of thirteen schools whilst struggling with dyslexia, before the age of sixteen, when he took up ballet lessons. In 1960 Jones was called up for national service and served in the Queen's Royal Regiment. Fresh out of the army, Colin joined the Royal Opera House, later moving to the Touring Royal Ballet and embarked on a nine-month world tour. Jones met, and for four years was married to, the great ballerina Lynn Seymour. Whilst on tour and running an errand for Dame Margot Fonteyn, he purchased his first camera, a Leica 3C rangefinder, in 1958 and started taking photographs of the dancers and backstage life during the Australian leg of the circuit. Jones admired the available-light backstage photography of Michael Peto, a Hungarian émigré, who agreed to mentor him. Colin Jones took advantage of the ballet company's travel to photograph extensively in the streets of Tokyo, Hong Kong and the Gorbals, Glasgow in 1961. Driving with fellow dancers from Newcastle to Sunderland that year, he saw, north of Birmingham, coal searchers on the spoil-heaps. In 1962, having changed his career to become a photographer for The Observer he returned to produce a series of photographs recording the vanishing industrial working poor and mining communities in the North East of England, later publishing the essay as the book Grafters. At The Observer he worked alongside photographers Philip Jones Griffiths and Don McCullin. He worked in Fleet Street for several years before turning freelance. Commissioned assignments took him to New York City in 1962; Liverpool docks in 1963; the race riots in Birmingham, Alabama, USA, where he made portraits of both 'Bull' Connor, and Dr Martin Luther King in 1963; Leningrad, USSR in 1964. In 1966 he photographed the British rock band The Who at the beginning of their career, and Pete Townshend, then Mick Jagger in 1967. He travelled to the Philippines in 1969 where he photographed the sex trade. He portrayed significant dancers, including Rudolph Nureyev for several publications. Jones’ work has been published in major publications including Life, National Geographic, Geo and Nova as well as many supplements for major broadsheet newspapers, most prominently The Times, who dubbed Jones "The George Orwell of British photography". In his later career he covered assignments around the world, including Jamaica in 1978; the indigenes of the New Hebrides and Zaire in 1980; Tom Waits in New York, 1981; San Blas Islands in 1982; Ireland in 1984; Xian, China in 1985; Ladakh in northern India 1994 and Bunker Hill, Kansas in 1996. Solo exhibitions have been devoted to his work: The Black House: Colin Jones at The Photographers' Gallery in London, 4 May – 4 June 1977 as well as at many other galleries. Martin Harrison’s Young Meteors associated Jones with other important British photographers including Don McCullin and Terence Donovan. In 2013 the Victoria and Albert Museum acquired three of Jones' historic photographs from The Black House series, along with a photograph by Dennis Morris depicting the original Black House associated with Michael X, both acquired as part of Staying Power, a five year partnership between the V&A and Black Cultural Archives, preserving black British experience from the 1950s to the 1990s through photographs and oral histories. The Arts Council also purchased his work.Source: Wikipedia The art of photography remains so fascinating because of the individuals who arrive from unexpected places and take the medium through a lifetime of changes. The career of Colin Jones has a startling trajectory. He was born in 1936, in time to be a war child, a father away as a soldier, and 13 different schools. An element of chance, as well as talent, led to a scholarship at the Royal Ballet School. The moment that defined Jones's later life occurred as he was driving with fellow-dancers from Newcastle to Sunderland one day in 1961. Travelling north of Birmingham and seeing the winding gear of coalmines had always excited Jones, who was steeped in the books of George Orwell, but now he saw the extraordinary drama of spoil-heaps swarming with coal searchers - an epic of reality and survival. Colin Jones is one of the most celebrated and prolific photographers of post-war Britain. He has documented facets of social history over the years as diverse as the vanishing industrial working lives of the Northeast (Grafters), delinquent Afro-Caribbean youth in London (The Black House), and most recently, the high-octane hedonism of Swinging London with his famous pictures of The Who early in their career. His work has been published in every major publication with any regard for the image and photography. Such as Life, and National Geographic, as well as many supplements for the major broadsheets. He has had solo exhibitions at the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC and at the Photographers Gallery in London, as well as at many other venues internationally.Source: Michael Hoppen Gallery
Ofir Barak
My name is Ofir Barak, I'm a photographer based here in Jerusalem. I can honestly say that I have been an artistic person all my life. I started out as a painter and was very passionate about it from a very early age. In 2013 I was lacking the motivation to create I was frustrated and I decided to put it aside and look for a new path to express myself through art. I needed to travel somewhere and clear my mind and look for answers. In order to move beyond my struggle, I needed to surround myself with every form of art I could find - literature, poetry, paintings, architecture - anything goes. I remembered that the museums in D.C have free admission, so I decided to go there. Each day I wandered into a different museum and enjoyed the art galleries. One day, accidentally, I entered an exhibition of a photographer from the wrong side - where people exit. I didn't know who the photographer was, but I was struck by his images. At that moment, I had an epiphany - this is what I want to do. This is what I can do. I spent two hours at the gallery and realized that I just couldn't consume it all in once. I went back there three more times to learn about the photographer - Garry Winogrand and each time I focused on different photographs. In the exhibition there was also a small screening room showing his famous talk at Rice University. I took a notebook with me each visit and sat at the corner of the room - writing down what I want to achieve and how. After returning home, i decided to work on a first project of my own. Between the years 2014 and 2017, I photographed constantly and on a weekly basis the neighborhood of Mea Shearim. I attended protests, holidays and weekdays tring to present a full documentation of a religious society here in Jerusalem. After 3 years and 15k pictures, a self published book was released under the title of "Mea Shearim - The streets". The project was well received within the world of photography rewarding me a Magnum Photos prize for the street photograph of the year, and a nomination for a Hasselblad masters in 2018. Parts of the project were exhibited in different locations including the jewish museum in berlin, the Lucie foundation - Month of photography photo book exhibition in the Us and many others. After completing this project, I have realized it has now become a starting point to a much larger project regarding religion in Jerusalem and a three parts books. The book is sold here at the event and if you liked the talk, feel free to take a look in the open copy and purchase one. About the Streets of Mea Shearim During the 1870s the city within the walls of Jerusalem were undergoing a serious crisis. An increase in population, especially in the Jewish quarter, resulted in high housing prices and poor sanitation.The Ottoman government failed to remove garbage dumps and eventually the pollution seeped into the water pits, causing a rise in disease and mortality rates among the population within the walls. This drove the Jewish community to establish neighborhoods outside the walls, and by 1873 four such neighborhoods were built - "Mishkenot Sha'ananim" (1880), "Mahane Israel" (1886), "Nahalat Shiva" (1869) and "Beit David" (1873). A small group of about one-hundred young Ashkenazi Jews who believed that moving outside the walls would help them improve their standard of living, decided in 1874 to combine their resources. They were able to purchase a tract of land outside the walls for a new settlement. It would have one-hundred houses and would serve as the fifth neighborhood outside the city walls. The name which they chose for that piece of land, Mea Shearim, was derived from a verse in the Torah portion that was read in the week the neighborhood was founded: "Isaac sowed in that land, and in that year he reaped a hundredfold (Mea Shearim); God had blessed him" (Genesis 26:12). Construction began around April 1874, by both Jewish and non-Jewish workers. Contractors, builders and plasterers were Christian Arabs from Bethlehem, and Jewish craftsmen also contributed. By December 1874, the first ten houses were standing. At first Mea Shearim was a courtyard neighborhood, surrounded by four walls with gates that were locked every evening. By October 1880, 100 apartments were ready for occupancy and a lottery was held to assign them to families. Between the years 1881 and 1917, more houses and neighborhoods were built. New neighborhoods surrounded Mea Shearim and helped establish a large Jewish presence outside the walls. By the turn of the century there were 300 houses, a flour mill, and a bakery. Mandatory Palestine under British administration had been carved out of Ottoman southern Syria after World War I. The British civil administration in Palestine operated from 1920 until 1948. During its existence the country was known simply as Palestine. The British regime was welcomed by the residents of Mea Shearim, who maintained good relations with the authorities for the good of the neighborhood. As a result, access roads to the area were improved, the neighborhood markets prospered, old shops were renovated, and new shops opened. Mea Shearim continued to grow, and by 1931 it was the third largest neighborhood in Jerusalem. This growth enhanced the neighborhood's status and importance, but daily life became more difficult, as many of the houses were populated with a large number of people resulting in sanitary conditions that endangered their health. The neglect of the Ottoman regime continued to set the tone, and lack of proper drainage caused rain to flood the streets and even people homes. There was a rise in poverty, resulting not only in a deterioration of the houses outer appearance but also in a spread of diseases. The neighborhood's uniform appearance also began to change, as different kinds of constructions materials came into use, resulting in non-uniform façades. Cheap tin became an alternative to the Jerusalem stone commonly used for construction. In 1948 the Arab-Israeli war broke out and Jerusalem was divided between two countries - Israel and Jordan. The border was very close to Mea Shearim and the neighborhood suffered from military attacks and damage to buildings. Within the next 20 years ,the neighborhood would suffer from decreasing population as the children of the second founding generation moved to orthodox neighborhoods nearby, leaving as few as 170 houses occupied out of a total of 304. In later years the residents returned and the population grew once again. The population remained isolated and segregated, because it refused to cooperate with the government of Israel. Street posters (Pashkvilim) began to appear on a public walls calling on residents not to serve in the Israeli army, not to vote or be elected to the Israeli parliament, and not to participate in Israel's Independence Day celebrations. Today, Mea Shearim remains loyal to its old customs and preserves its isolation in the heart of Jerusalem while trying to stave off the modern world; it is, in a way, frozen in time. The numerous renovations of houses at the end of the 20th century hardly affected the appearance of the neighborhood. They are still common today but fewer in numbers. Houses that were built over one hundred years ago stand alongside a few new ones. The life of the Hasidic community still revolves around strict adherence to Jewish law, prayer, and the study of Jewish religious texts. The large majority of the people are Ashkenazim; there are hardly Sephardic Jews in the neighborhood. In addition to some well-to-do family there are also many needy ones, which are helped by local charity institutions. The traditional dress code remains in effect here; for men and boys it includes black frock coats and black hats. Long, black beards cover their faces and many of them grow side curls called "payots".Women and girls are urged to wear what is considered to be modest dress - knee-length or longer skirts, no plunging necklines or midriff tops, no sleeveless blouses or bare shoulders. Some women wear thick black stockings all year long, and married women wear a variety of hair coverings, from hats to wigs and headscarves. The common language of daily communication in Mea Shearim is Yiddish, in contrast to the Hebrew spoken by the majority of Israel's Jewish population. Hebrew is used by the residents only for prayer and religious study, as they believe that Hebrew is a sacred language to be used only for religious purposes. This is the story of the ongoing battle between the old and the new, the past versus the present, this is the everyday life of a city within a city. My grandmother and I had a special bond. We developed a habit that once a week, usually on Mondays, we cleared our schedule and sat down to discuss the photographs I took. We talked the stories behind the photos, the people, even how the weather affected the light in the pictures. At first, photography was something foreign for both of us and with time, we developed a passion for it. We loved our gatherings and anticipated them every week. In early 2014 things changed, we had fewer opportunities for our weekly routine as her health had begun to deteriorate. She received treatments on a weekly basis and eventually had to be under medical supervision and hospitalized. On one of the visits as I sat by her bed, I wanted to ease her mind from the treatments she received and asked if she would like to see a photograph I took the day before. She immediately said yes and was very enthused when I showed her the photograph. We ended up taking and analyzing the photo as we used to, freeing our minds from the hospital room we were in. Neither of us knew that it would be our last time together. After her death, I decided to do a project based on the last photograph she ever saw. This one photo has led me on a journey, photographing the streets of Mea Shearim. Discover The Christians of Jerusalem
Homai Vyarawalla
India
1913 | † 2012
Homai Vyarawalla, India's first woman photojournalist, is best known for documenting the country's transition from a British colony to a newly independent nation. Vyarawalla was born on 9 December 1913 in the western Indian state of Gujarat. Her family belonged to India's tiny but influential Parsi community. She spent much of her childhood on the move because her father was an actor in a travelling theatre group. But the family soon moved to Mumbai (then Bombay), where she attended the JJ School of Art. She was in college when she met Manekshaw Vyarawalla, a freelance photographer, who she would later marry. It was he who introduced her to photography. She received her first assignment - to photograph a picnic - while she was still in college. It was published by a local newspaper, and soon she started to pick up more freelance assignments. Vyarawalla began to draw more attention after her photographs of life in Mumbai were published in The Illustrated Weekly of India magazine. The Vyarawallas moved to Delhi in 1942 after they were hired to work as photographers for the British Information Service. Homai Vyarawalla, one of few female photojournalists working at the time in Delhi, was often seen cycling through the capital with her camera strapped to her back. She took her most iconic images, however, after India became independent - from the departure of the British from India, to the funerals of Mahatma Gandhi and former prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru. Homai Vyarawalla also photographed most prominent independence leaders. But she said in an interview that her biggest regret was that she missed photographing the meeting where Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated. She was on her way to attend it when her husband called her back for some other work. Her work also includes candid, close-up photographs of celebrities and dignitaries who visited India in the years following independence, including China's first prime minister Zhou Enlai, Vietnamese leader Ho Chi Minh, Queen Elizabeth II and US President John F Kennedy. Vyarawalla photographed many famous people but Mr Nehru figures most prominently in her work as her "favourite subject". She said in an interview that when Mr Nehru died she "cried, hiding my face from other photographers". Ms Vyarawalla clicked her last picture in 1970, retiring after a four-decade-long career. She left Delhi after her husband died in 1969 and moved to Gujarat. She was awarded India's second highest civilian honour, the Padma Vibhushan, in 2011. She died on 16 January 2012 at the age of 92.Source: BBC
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