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Alex Prager
Alex Prager

Alex Prager

Country: United States
Birth: 1979

Alex Prager (b. 1979, Los Angeles; lives and works in Los Angeles) is a photographer and filmmaker who creates elaborately staged scenes that draw inspiration from a wide range of influences and references, including Hollywood cinema, experimental films, popular culture, and street photography. She deliberately casts and stages all of her works, merging past and contemporary sources to create a sense of ambiguity. Her familiar yet uncanny images depict worlds that synthesize fiction and reality and evoke a sense of nostalgia. Prager cultivates the surreal in her photographs and films, creating moments that feel like a fabricated memory or dream. Each photograph captures a moment frozen in time, inviting the viewer to “complete the story” and speculate about its narrative context. Prager's work often makes the viewer aware of the voyeuristic nature of photography and film, establishing the uneasy feeling of intruding upon a potentially private moment. The highly choreographed nature of her photographs and films exposes the way images are constructed and consumed in our media-saturated society.

Solo exhibitions of Prager's work have been organized at Fotografiska, Tallinn (2020); Fotografiska Stockholm (2019); Fondazione Sozzani, Milan, Italy (2019); FOAM Fotografiemuseum, Amsterdam, Netherlands (2019); Multimedia Art Museum, Moscow, Russia, (2019); Musée des Beaux-Arts Le Locle, Switzerland (2018); The Photographers' Gallery, London, United Kingdom (2018); Des Moines Art Center, IA (2017-2018); Saint Louis Art Museum, MO (2015); Galerie des Galeries, Paris, France (2015); Goss Michael Foundation, Dallas, TX (2015); National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia (2014); Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. (2013); SCAD Museum of Art, Savannah, GA (2013); and the FOAM Photography Museum, Amsterdam, Netherlands (2012). Select group exhibitions featuring her work include Telling Tales: Contemporary Narrative Photography, McNay Art Museum, San Antonio, TX (2016-2014); Open Rhapsody, Beirut Exhibition Center, Lebanon (2015); The Noir Effect, Skirball Cultural Center, Los Angeles, CA (2014); No Fashion, Please: Photography Between Gender and Lifestyle, Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna, Austria (2011); and New Photography, The Museum of Modern Art, New York (2010). Her work is in numerous international public and private collections, including the Kunsthaus Zurich, Switzerland; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles; Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Sweden; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Queensland Gallery of Modern Art, Australia; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.

Prager has received numerous awards, including the FOAM Paul Huf Award (2012), The Vevey International Photography Award (2009), and the London Photographic Award (2006). Her editorial work has been featured in prominent publications, including Vogue, New York Magazine, and W, and her film series Touch of Evil, commissioned by The New York Times Magazine, won a 2012 Emmy award. Her first major public commission, Applause, for Times Square Arts: Midnight Moment, New York, took place in summer 2017.

Source: www.lehmannmaupin.com

 

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More Great Photographers To Discover

Jim Ferguson
United States
1954
Recently I "remerged" back into the fine art photography world, but this is my second round of showing and selling work. Years back I received a BFA from San Francisco Art Institute and MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. After getting my BFA, I started contacting galleries. I was successful from the very start with three galleries representing my work and acquisitions by major museums and numerous private collections. In the fall of 2017 I re-emerged into the fine art world full time, introducing my work again to galleries and museums. Since "reemerging" I’ve had a number of successes. I was in an exhibition at Catherine Edelman Gallery and am represented in their Chicago Project. I’ve been included in exhibitions curated by April Watson, Elizabeth Houston, Douglas Beasley and Robert Klein. I’ve also had a One Person exhibition at Workspace Gallery, and was selected for the Top 200 in Critical Mass 2018. Wide Range Statement Traveling through the Southwest for the first time I was photographically hot. My imagery gelled into the beginning of a body of work. This first trip was truly life changing. The Southwest appealed to me so much that I moved to Albuquerque. It served as home base for travels in the West; thus beginning my Wide Range series. I call this series Wide Range because of the open range nature of the American West and the wide variety of subjects I choose to photograph. Man's isolated impacts on the environment stood out more in the broad expanses of the landscape. I sought not to highlight the negative impacts but to utilize the man-made objects to create my images. The juxtaposition of these man-made objects vs. dramatic backgrounds allowed me to visually compact space into layered unity. This series began the visual journey I've traveled with my photography. Unfamiliar Places Statement Unfamiliar Places is a body of autobiographical memories that have been altered by the passage of time rather than by a proactive chemical or digital process. The images were stored on undeveloped film for 20 years, resulting in the degradation of the "latent" image. This work reflect the serendipity that is unique to working with the analogue process and highlights its inherent materiality. The unique process of the degradation of the film over 20 years mirror the historical content of the images. The images are a result of my photographic journey, the degradation of the emulsion in the negatives and the layering of history with the film wrapper's film numbers and dots. They were taken in France Mexico and the U.S. Over the past two decades I continued to photograph, standing guard against the instinct for gratification and instead allowing the pictures to rest peacefully in a dark place. It is now thrilling to finally see that the choice to wait offers its rewards: here are the both subtle diminishments and vital revelations in the aging process. Time has left marks on these images just as the events of a life do.
Ada Trillo
United States
1976
Ada Trillo is a photographer based in Philadelphia, PA, and Juarez, Mexico. Trillo holds degrees from the Istituto Marangoni in Milan and Drexel University in Philadelphia. Trillo's work is concerned with human rights issues facing Latin America. Trillo has documented forced prostitution in Juarez, Mexico, the infamous La Bestia train, the migrant caravans of 2018 and 2020, and the struggles of asylum seekers directly affected by Trump's Remain in Mexico policy. Trillo has exhibited internationally at Saint Josephs University in Philadelphia, The Photo Meetings in Luxembourg, The Passion for Freedom Art Festival in London, Festival Internazionale di Fotografia in Cortona Italy and at the Anya and Andrew Shiva Gallery at the John Jay College in New, York. In 2017, Trillo received a Leeway Foundation Art and Change Grant. Her work has been featured in The British Journal of Photography, The Guardian, and Smithsonian Magazine. Trillo was recently awarded a CFEVA Fellowship by The Center For Emerging Visual Artists and was named the Visual Artist-in-Residence for Fleisher Art Memorial in Philadelphia. Her work is included in the permanent collection of the Philadelphia Museum of Art and The West Collection. Trillo was awarded First Place in Editorial Photos with the Tokyo International Foto Awards. She was recently awarded the ME&Eve grant with the Center of photographic arts in Santa Fe. Statement I was born in El Paso, Texas but I was raised in Juarez, Mexico. As a teenager, I traveled back and forth between the two cities so I could attend school in the states. Witnessing life on the border as a young adult had a strong influence on my worldview and art practice. After years of working as a painter, I picked up a camera and started making pictures. For the past four years, I've been documenting the journey migrants take to reach the US-Mexico border. In 2017, I photographed aboard the infamous La Bestia, a dangerous journey by a freight train that migrants from Mexico and Central America ride every year to reach the border. In 2018 & 2019 I photographed overpopulated migrant shelters in Juarez and Tijuana. I also traveled with the migrant caravans of 2018 and 2020, from Honduras, through Guatemala, and into Mexico. In 2019, I photographed asylum seekers who were barred entry into the US under Trump's, Remain in Mexico Policy. While the media often covers what is happening at the border, they all too often overlook the individual trials, struggles, and humanity of those seeking to escape violence in pursuit of a better life. Spending countless days and nights living alongside those I photograph, I hope to present an honest, unadulterated view of migrant life. I photograph exclusively with a 35mm camera and fixed lenses. My process of making pictures is about creating real connections with my subjects in search of depth and intimacy in my work. My goal is to humanize their struggle and share their stories with the world.
Roger Fenton
United Kingdom
1819 | † 1869
Roger Fenton was a British photographer, noted as one of the first war photographers. He was born into a Lancashire merchant family. After graduating from London with an Arts degree, Fenton became interested in painting and later developed a keen interest in the new technology of photography after seeing early examples at The Great Exhibition in 1851. Within a year, he began exhibiting his own photographs. He became a leading British photographer and instrumental in founding the Photographic Society (later the Royal Photographic Society). It is likely that in autumn 1854, as the Crimean War grabbed the attention of the British public, that some powerful friends and patrons – among them Prince Albert and Duke of Newcastle, Secretary of State for War – urged Roger Fenton to go to the Crimea to record the happenings. The London print publisher Thomas Agnew & Sons became his commercial sponsor. The resulting photographs may have been intended to offset the general unpopularity of the war among the British people, and to counteract the occasionally critical reporting of correspondent William Howard Russell of The Times; the photographs were to be converted into woodblocks and published in the less critical Illustrated London News. He set off aboard HMS Hecla in February, landed at Balaklava on 8 March and remained there until 22 June. Fenton took Marcus Sparling as his photographic assistant, a servant known as William and a large horse-drawn van of equipment. Due to the size and cumbersome nature of his photographic equipment, Fenton was limited in his choice of motifs. Because the photographic material of his time needed long exposures, he was only able to produce pictures of stationary objects, mostly posed pictures; he avoided making pictures of dead, injured or mutilated soldiers. But he also photographed the landscape, including an area near to where the Charge of the Light Brigade – made famous in Tennyson's poem – took place. In letters home soldiers had called the original valley "The Valley of Death", and Tennyson's poem used the same phrase, so when in September 1855 Thomas Agnew put the picture on show, as one of a series of eleven collectively titled Panorama of the Plateau of Sebastopol in Eleven Parts in a London exhibition, he took the troops'—and Tennyson's—epithet, expanded it as The Valley of the Shadow of Death with its deliberate evocation of Psalm 23, and assigned it to the piece; it is not the location of the famous charge, which took place in a long, broad valley several miles to the south-east. Despite summer high temperatures, breaking several ribs in a fall, suffering from cholera and also becoming depressed at the carnage he witnessed at Sevastopol, in all Fenton managed to make over 350 usable large format negatives. An exhibition of 312 prints was soon on show in London and at various places across the nation in the months that followed. Fenton also showed them to Queen Victoria and Prince Albert and also to Emperor Napoleon III in Paris. Nevertheless, sales were not as good as expected. Despite the lack of commercial success for his Crimean photographs, Fenton later travelled widely over Britain to record landscapes and still life images. However, as time moved on, photography became more accessible to the general public. Many people sought to profit from selling quick portraits to common people. It is likely that Fenton, from a wealthy background, disdained 'trade' photographers, but nevertheless still wanted to profit from the art by taking exclusive images and selling them at good prices. He thus fell into conflict with many of his peers who genuinely needed to make money from photography and were willing to 'cheapen their art' (as Fenton saw it), and also with the Photographic Society, who believed that no photographer should soil himself with the 'sin' of exploiting his talent commercially in any manner. Amongst Fenton's photographs from this period are the City of Westminster, including The Palace of Westminster nearing completion in 1857 – almost certainly the earliest images of the building, and the only photographs showing the incomplete Clock Tower. In 1858 Fenton made studio genre studies based on romantically imaginative ideas of Muslim life, such as Seated Odalisque, using friends and models who were not always convincing in their roles. Although well known for his Crimean War photography, his photographic career lasted little more than a decade, and in 1862 he abandoned the profession entirely, selling his equipment and returned to the law as a barrister. Although becoming almost forgotten by the time of his death seven years later he was later formally recognized by art historians for his pioneering work and artistic endeavour. In 1862 the organizing committee for the International Exhibition in London announced its plans to place photography, not with the other fine arts as had been done in the Manchester Art Treasures Exhibition only five years earlier, but in the section reserved for machinery, tools and instruments – photography was considered a craft, for tradesmen. For Fenton and many of his colleagues, this was conclusive proof of photography's diminished status, and the pioneers drifted away. He died 8 August 1869 at his home in Potters Bar, Middlesex after a week-long illness – he was 50 years old. His wife died in 1886. Their graves were destroyed in 1969 when the Potters Bar church where they were buried was deconsecrated and demolished.Source: Wikipedia Roger Fenton is a towering figure in the history of photography, the most celebrated and influential photographer in England during the medium’s “golden age” of the 1850s. Before taking up the camera, he studied law in London and painting in Paris. He traveled to Russia in 1852 and photographed the landmarks of Kiev and Moscow; founded the Photographic Society (later designated the Royal Photographic Society) in 1853; was appointed the first official photographer of the British Museum in 1854; achieved widespread recognition for his photographs of the Crimean War in 1855; and excelled throughout the decade as a photographer in all the medium’s genres—architecture, landscape, portraiture, still life, reportage, and tableau vivant. Fenton’s most widespread acclaim came in 1855, with photographs of the Crimean War, a conflict in which British, French, Sardinian, and Turkish troops battled Russia’s attempt to expand its influence into European territory of the Ottoman empire. Fenton was commissioned by the Manchester publisher Thomas Agnew & Sons to travel to the Crimea and document the war, and his mission was encouraged by the government, which hoped that his photographs would reassure a worried public. Fenton’s extensive documentation of the war—the first such use of photography—included pictures of the port of Balaklava, the camps, the terrain of battle, and portraits of officers, soldiers, and support staff of the various allied armies. Perhaps inspired by the experience of traveling through Constantinople en route to Balaklava, or perhaps simply sharing the mid-nineteenth-century vogue for all things exotic, Fenton produced a theatrical suite of Orientalist compositions during the summer of 1858—costume pieces that strove for high art rather than documentation and that were, in a sense, an antidote to the harsh realities he had recorded in the Crimea. They owed as much to the paintings of Delacroix and Ingres as to Fenton’s own experience in the East. In 1862, after a final series of photographs—a remarkable group of lush still lifes—Fenton sold his equipment and negatives, resigned from the Royal Photographic Society, and returned to the bar. In the course of a single decade, Fenton had played a pivotal role—by advocacy and example—in demonstrating that photography could rival drawing and painting not only as a means of conveying information, but also as a medium of visual delight and powerful expression.Source: Metropolitan Museum of Art
Guy Bourdin
France
1928 | † 1991
Guy Bourdin (1928-1991) was born in Paris. A painter his entire life and a self-taught photographer, he was working for magazines, such as Vogue as well as for brands such as Chanel, Ungaro and Charles Jourdan. He exhibited his first photographies at Galerie 29 in 1952. Nowadays his work has been exhibited in the most prestigious museums, such as The Victoria & Albert Museum, The Jeu de Paume, The National Art Museum of China, The Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography and The Moscow House of Photography. His oeuvres is part of the collection of many prestigious institutions such as the MoMA in New York, The Getty Museum in Los Angeles, SFMOMA in San Francisco and the collection of the V&A among others. Guy Bourdin's career spanned more than forty years during which time he worked for the world's leading fashion houses and magazines. With the eye of a painter, Guy Bourdin created images that contained fascinating stories, compositions, both in B&W and in colors. He was among the 1st to create images with narratives, telling stories and shows that the image is more important than the product which is displayed. Using fashion photography as his medium, he sent out his message, one that was difficult to decode, exploring the realms between the absurd and the sublime. Famed for his suggestive narratives and surreal aesthetics, he radically broke conventions of commercial photography with a relentless perfectionism and sharp humor. Guy Bourdin used the format of the double spread magazine page in the most inventive way. He tailored his compositions to the constraints of the printed page both conceptually and graphically, and the mirror motif so central in his work finds its formal counterpart in the doubleness of the magazine spread. Layout and design become powerful metaphors for the photographic medium, engaging the eye and with it, the mind. While on the one hand employing formal elements of composition, Guy Bourdin, on the other hand, sought to transcend the reality of the photographic medium with surreal twists to the apparent subject of his images and his unconventional manipulation of the picture plane. Given total creative freedom and with uncompromising artistic ethic, Guy Bourdin captured the imagination of a whole generation at the late 1970s, recognised as the highest note in his career. Guy Bourdin was an image maker, a perfectionist. He knew how to grab the attention of the viewer and left nothing to chance. He created impeccable sets, or when not shooting in his studio rue des Ecouffes in le Marais, in undistinguished bedrooms, on the beach, in nature, or in urban landscapes. The unusual dramas that unfold in these seemingly everyday scenes and ordinary encounters pique our subconscious and invite our imagination. Moreover, he developed a technic using hyper real colours, meticulous compositions of cropped elements such as low skies with high grounds and the interplay of light and shadows as well as the unique make-up of the models. Guy Bourdin irreverently swept away all the standards of beauty, conventional morals and product portrayals in one fell swoop. Around the female body he constructed visual disruptions, the outrageous, the hair-raising, the indiscreet, the ugly, the doomed, the fragmentary and the absent, torsos and death - all the tension and the entire gamut of what lies beyond the aesthetic and the moral,« explains the exhibition's curator Ingo Taubhorn. Bourdin investigates in minute detail the variables of fashion photography, from brash posing to subtle performances and from complex settings to novel and disturbing notions of images. Guy Bourdin was among the first to imagine fashion photographies that contained fascinating narratives, dramatic effects with intense color saturation, hyper-realism and cropped compositions while he established the idea that the product is secondary to the image. A fan of Alfred Hitchcock's 'Macguffin' technique - an inanimate object catalyzing the plot - the photographer constructed 'crime scenes', getting rid of all usual standards of beauty and morals while his images demanded cerebral responses. When such photographers as David Bailey, in the 1960s, produced fantasy images of the girl-next-door, Guy Bourdin captured the atmosphere of the 1970s with sharp humor, erotism and outrageous femininity. Collaborating with Issey Miyake, Chanel or Emmanuel Ungaro, it was his work for the shoe label, Charles Jourdan, that brought him the attention of a wider public. With the campaign, Guy Bourdin dared to barely show the product and turned the shoe into a trivial element of a theatrical mise-en-scène that enhanced sex and bad taste. Guy Bourdin's imagery not only changed the course of fashion photography but influenced a host of contemporary artists, photographers and filmmakers. It is without question, that Guy Bourdin's work for Vogue and his highly acclaimed print advertising for Charles Jourdan in the 1970s are now being seen in the appropriate context of contemporary art.
Bernard Benavides
Bernard Benavides (Barcelona, 1980), photographer, licensed by the Gris Art School Barcelona, in 2011, has developed his professional and artistic career through his passion for travel and photography. Always interested in the remote cultures of distant countries, with which he establishes a personal and close link to meet in person, to experience the day to day of the ethnic group, its culture, its rituals and its particular landscapes and lost paradises. This has marked the pulse of his travels and allowed him to perceive each face and each landscape uniquely. He is an avid traveler who takes the opportunity to escape and travel the world with his camera and backpack. He likes the most complicated challenges and trips. Since different events occur in the interests of today's world, his preference is always social photography. He believes that it is not the experience itself, but the meaning that he gives to the experience. His professional and artistic career began at the age of thirteen. Having personally experienced the Civil War of El Salvador for three years, it marked the rest of his life and had an important influence on the decision to direct his career to photojournalism. In 2011, due to personal and professional stability gained from the cultural exchanges experienced in his previous trips, as well as for the discovery of new places such as Kano, Nigeria, he adopted a different and more critical outlook when discovering and documenting the ethnic political conflict between Christians and Muslims. Nigeria was a country where he developed a high degree of personal and professional learning. His long trips through Central Asia, South East Asia, America, Australia, and currently a two-year trip through Africa, have led him to enjoy and document with his lens, the native peoples and especially the fascination of living with tribes.
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