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Bruce Davidson
Bruce Davidson

Bruce Davidson

Country: United States
Birth: 1933

Bruce Davidson began taking photographs at the age of ten in Oak Park, Illinois. While attending Rochester Institute of Technology and Yale University, he continued to further his knowledge and develop his passion. He was later drafted into the army and stationed near Paris. There he met Henri Cartier-Bresson, one of the founders of the renowned cooperative photography agency, Magnum Photos.

When he left military service in 1957, Davidson worked as a freelance photographer for LIFE magazine and in 1958 became a full member of Magnum. From 1958 to 1961 he created such seminal bodies of work as “The Dwarf,” Brooklyn Gang,” and “Freedom Rides.” He received a Guggenheim fellowship in 1962 and created a profound documentation of the civil rights movement in America. In 1963, the Museum of Modern Art in New York presented his early work in a solo show.

In 1967, he received the first grant for photography from the National Endowment for the Arts, having spent two years witnessing the dire social conditions on one block in East Harlem. This work was published by Harvard University Press in 1970 under the title East 100th Street and was later republished and expanded by St. Ann’s Press. The work became an exhibition that same year at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. In 1980, he captured the vitality of the New York Metro’s underworld that was later published in a book, Subway, and exhibited at the International Center for Photography in 1982. From 1991-95 he photographed the landscape and layers of life in Central Park. In 2006, he completed a series of photographs titled “The Nature of Paris,” many of which have been shown and acquired by the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Davidson received an Open Society Institute Individual Fellowship in 1998 to return to East 100th Street His awards include the Lucie Award for Outstanding Achievement in Documentary Photography in 2004 and a Gold Medal Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Arts Club in 2007. Classic bodies of work from his 50-year career have been extensively published in monographs and are included in many major public and private fine art collections around the world. He continues to photograph and produce new bodies of work.

Source: Magnum Photos

 

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More Great Photographers To Discover

Jessica Todd Harper
United States
1975
Jessica spent much of her childhood wandering around museums with a sketchbook, copying paintings. This traditional artistic preparation took an unexpected course when she started making photographs as a teenager, but the familiar canvases of her childhood heroes -John Singer Sargent, Whistler, Vermeer- still have their influences today: she is interested in making intimate, psychological portraits, where the environment plays a large role. Jessica Todd Harper uses portraiture to explore the subtle tensions within daily family interactions and the complexity of human relationships. Her work is grounded in art historical tradition, but with a psychological undercurrent that marks its modernity. A silver medalist in the Prix de la Photographie in Paris (2014), she was an Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition prizewinner (2016) and selected that same year for the Taylor Wessing Portrait competition at the National Portrait Gallery in London. Her work will be significantly represented in Kinship, opening at the Smithosonian's National Portrait Gallery in late 2022, and running until 2024. Harper has published two prize-winning books of photography, Interior Exposure (2008) and The Home Stage (2014) (both Damiani Editore). Damiani’s third book of her work, Here, is due out in late 2022. HERE Like 17th-century Dutch painters who made otherwise ordinary interior scenes appear charged with meaning, Pennsylvania-based photographer Jessica Todd Harper (born 1975) looks for the value in everyday moments. The characters in her imagery are the people around her—friends, herself, family—but it is not so much they who are important as the way in which they are organized and lit by Harper. A woman helping her child practice the piano is not a particularly sacred moment, but as in a Vermeer painting, the way the composition and lighting influence the content suggests that perhaps it is. This collection of photographs presented in Harper's third monograph makes use of what is right in front of the artist, what is here, a place that many of us came to contemplate especially during the pandemic. Beauty, goodness and truth can reveal themselves in daily life, as in the Dutch paintings of everyday domestic scenes that are somehow lit up with mysterious import. Harper shows how our unexamined or even seemingly dull surroundings can sometimes be illuminating. Exlusive Interview with Jessica Todd Harper about her Book Here
Richard Murai
United States
1952
"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new lands but seeing with new eyes." --Marcel Proust, 1923, La Prisonierre The world's sacred sites are visually rich and historically significant and provide sanctuary for spiritual reflection and creative exploration and discovery. They're striking archeological sites but first and foremost, they serve as vital and revered centers of pilgrimage, prayer and meditation. These images are excerpts of my visits to these sacred spaces and are evidence of an ongoing journey that examines intense spiritual devotion and religious fervor, past and present, within unique and distinctive cultures. They are multi-dimensional and compelling for both the photographer and the viewer and document golden ages of past millennia and cultures seeking to reconcile ancient traditions with conflicting modern values. Devotees seek serenity and escape from centuries of conquest and political upheaval, or the effects of poverty, global climate change and modernization. As we confront a perplexing, irrational and precarious world situation ongoing geo-political unrest and violence has caused fractious dissension and a difficult emotional time for all. Reluctance to accept diverse cultural, political, religious attitudes both here and abroad adds to the fear, cynicism and confusion. Becoming sensitive to unfamiliar cultures can quell much of this anxiety and may encourage tolerance and compassion. After transitioning from thirty-five rewarding years in photographic education, Richard lives in Monterey, CA, and continues to passionately pursue his creative artmaking. His ongoing fascination with world religion and culture has generated repeated visits to locations within India, Asia, South America, the Middle East, Russia and Europe. His work has been exhibited widely, has garnered awards from All About Photo, Center for Photographic Art, Spider Awards, and Travel Photographer of the Year, and have been featured in respected publications including B&W Magazine, Silver Shots International, Shots, Photographer's Forum and multiple issues of Lenswork print and special editions. His photographs are included in various private and corporate collections and is represented by the Weston Gallery, Carmel, CA
LaToya Ruby Frazier
United States
1982
LaToya Ruby Frazier is an American artist and professor of photography at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. From Braddock, Pennsylvania, Frazier began photographing her family and hometown at the age of 16, revising the social documentary traditional of Walker Evans and Dorothea Lange to imagine documentation from within and by the community, and collaboration between the photographer and her subjects. Inspired by Gordon Parks, who promoted the camera as a weapon for social justice, Frazier uses her tight focus to make apparent the impact of systemic problems, from racism to deindustrialization to environmental degradation, on individual bodies, relationships and spaces. In her work, she is concerned with bringing to light these problems, which she describes as global issues. Speaking to The New York Times about her position, Frazier said: "We need longer sustained stories that reflect and tell us where the prejudices and blind spots are and continue to be in this culture and society... This is a race and class issue that is affecting everyone. It is not a black problem, it is an American problem, it is a global problem. Braddock is everywhere." Frazier has been extensively educated in photography through education at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania (BFA), Syracuse University (MFA), the Whitney Museum of American Art Independent Study Program, and she was the Guna S. Mundheim Fellow for Visual Arts at the American Academy in Berlin. The photographic work of LaToya Ruby Frazier includes both images of personal spaces, intensely private moments and the story of racial and economic injustice in America. Her work includes raw portraits of friends and family members in intimate moments and examples of social injustice. As Frazier explains, "the collaboration between my family and myself blurs the line between self-portraiture and social documentary". Often her work focuses on the plight of her home town of Braddock, Pennsylvania which became financially depressed after the collapse of the steel industry in the 1970–80s. With black and white photographs, Frazier highlights the beauty of Braddock and how this town has impacted her family's life along with other residents. Her still photographs have a raw sense of strength and vulnerability juxtaposed in an honest and personal way. Besides working on her most famous work Notion of Family, Frazier has worked with other contemporary issues such as the Flint water crisis. This particular project depicts and focuses on a young woman and her family living their everyday lives amongst the crucial water conditions within their lower-class Flint community. She recently contributed photographs to a New York Times project, Why America's Black Mothers and Babies are in a Life-or-Death Crisis. Informed by documentary practices from the turn of the last century, Frazier explores identities of place, race, and family in work that is a hybrid of self-portraiture and social narrative. Her primary subjects of these portraits are Frazier's Grandma Ruby (1925-2009), her mother (b. 1959), and the artist herself. The crumbling landscape of Braddock, Pennsylvania, a once-thriving steel town, forms the backdrop of her images, which make manifest both the environmental and infrastructural decay caused by postindustrial decline and the lives of those who continue—largely by necessity—to live among it. As Frazier says, "I see myself as an artist and a citizen that's documenting and telling the story and building the archive of working-class families facing all this change that's happening, because it has to be documented." Through her own family she has been able to recount the history of Braddock by way of the generations who experienced it. Her work begins dialogues about class structure, history, and social responsibility. A 2018 special issue of Atlantic Magazine featured aerial photography and an essay by Frazier documenting the impact of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King. Jr. on the landscapes of Memphis, Chicago and Baltimore. Frazier's work was featured in the 2019 New York Times Magazine Money Issue for her photo essay on the people of Lordstown, Ohio after the General Motors plant shut down.Source: Wikipedia Frazier’s radical empathy has brought her to places whose occupants have every reason to distrust outsiders. She photographs communities gutted by unemployment, poverty, racism and environmental degradation, seeking out subjects dehumanized or ignored by the mainstream media. At 39, she sees her life’s work as an archive of humanity, one that particularly documents the courage and diversity of blue-collar workers and the consequences of the policies that condemn them to struggle. For her, this is what it means to be a patriot. “I am showing these dark things about America because I love my country and countrymen,” she said. “When you love somebody, you tell them the truth. Even if it hurts.” Socially conscious artistic practices may be in vogue these days, but Frazier goes beyond hollow claims of “raising awareness” with an essay in a magazine or a show at an art museum. She is the rare photographer who approaches relationships with her subjects as lifelong commitments, and who tries to make substantial, material differences in their lives. Frazier’s conviction in art that involves — and transforms — entire communities aligns her with Rick Lowe, an artist who, with his collaborators, famously converted an underserved swath of Houston into a nexus for housing, art programming and neighborhood development activities. She also carries on the legacy of the German artist Joseph Beuys, who believed that participatory art could heal society. Frazier, though, pursues these conceptual ideals while still producing formally elegant images using traditional techniques. Working mainly with a medium-format camera and black-and-white film, her intimate domestic portraits and expressive landscapes are classically beautiful, even when they depict harrowing realities. Making photographs as poetic as they are political is, for Frazier, a way of honoring her subjects. “She doesn’t pop in and pop out,” said the artist Carrie Mae Weems, Frazier’s friend and early mentor. “These are long-term projects that deeply matter, not only to her but to the community and, ultimately, I think, to the nation.”Source: The New York Times
Ren Hang
Chinese
1987 | † 2017
Ren Hang (Chinese: 任航; March 30, 1987 – February 24, 2017) was a Chinese photographer and poet. During Ren's incipient career, he was known mostly for nude photographic portraits of his friends. His work is significant for its representation of Chinese sexuality within a heavily censored society. For these erotic undertones, he was arrested by PRC authorities several times. He received the backing of the Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, who included Ren in his 2013 Netherlands show, Fuck Off 2 The Sequel, and curated the photographer's 2014 exhibition in Paris, France. Ren's erotic, playful and casual yet provocative expression gained him worldwide fame. Ren was born in 1987, in a suburb of Changchun, Jilin province, in northeastern China. In 2007, in order to relieve the boredom of studying advertising at college, he bought a point-and-shoot camera and began shooting his friends. As a self-taught photographer, he said his style of photography was inspired by the artist Shūji Terayama. Ren suffered from depression. He posted a series of diary entries titled My depression on his blog, recording the fear, anxiety and internal conflicts he experienced. Ren died by suicide on February 24, 2017 in Beijing. Ren Hang first began taking pictures of his roommates and friends in 2007, shooting them in the nude as all were close and seeking excitement. In an interview, he also admitted: “I usually shoot my friends, because strangers make me nervous.” He arranged his subjects' naked limbs in his photographs. Ren did not consider his work inappropriate: “I don’t really view my work as taboo, because I don’t think so much in cultural context, or political context. I don’t intentionally push boundaries, I just do what I do.” This may account for his reticence to limit his work to indoor settings. He said there were no preferred places for him to work, as he believed anywhere was beautiful and worthy to be shot, including sparse studios, parks forests, and atop buildings. Ren's photos employ nude groups and solo portraits of men and women often contorted into highly performative positions. For example, hands reach down milky thighs, a limp penis flops onto a watermelon and a series of backsides imitate a mountain range. Questioning the purpose of his work, he once stated that his creation was a way to seek fun for both photographer and the photographed. However, once he had reached fame on an international level, he began to think deeply about his work. The British Journal of Photography quoted him as once saying: "I don't want others having the impression that Chinese people are robots... Or they do have sexual genitals but always keep them as some secret treasures. I want to say that our cocks and pussies are not embarrassing at all." Ren also focused on marginalised people in Chinese society with gender identity disorders by 'indeterminating' sex and gender in some of his work: a group of naked bodies stacked together, men wearing silk stockings and wearing lipstick. He denied having a preference in models: “Gender… only matters to me when I’m having sex.” The international quarterly photography journal Aperture used his photo as the cover for its Queer theme. Commentators also see his work, the naked body and the starched penis, as evolving sexual mores and the struggle for creative and sexual freedom in a conservative, tightly controlled society. But Ren Hang also announced "I don't try to get a message across, I don't give my works names, I don't date them. I don’t want to instill them with any vocabulary. I don't like to explain my photos or work as a whole". It has been mentioned that Ren's work is softcore pornography because of the degree of nudity and sex in it, but he also worked with other themes. The most famous was titled My Mum. Although still under a fetishistic atmosphere, posing with usual props in Ren's works like animals and plants, Ren's mother posed as a clothed model, in a light-hearted way to represent her daily life. Ren's photographs have been included in magazines L'Officiel, GQ Style, and Vice. He worked with fashion companies Gucci, Rick Owens, and Loewe. Ren's work is included in Frank Ocean's magazine Boys Don't Cry. Ren Hang is noted to be greatly influenced by Chinese and Asian contemporary art and in particular, Japanese photographer and contemporary artist Nobuyoshi Araki. Ren Hang mainly worked with a simple point-and-shoot camera. He would direct the models as to how to place their bodies and shoot in quick succession. Genitalia, breasts and anuses were not covered up, but featured, or accentuated with props and close-ups. Colors were rich and high in contrast, increasing visual impact. This, along with the fact all bodies were slim, lithe and relatively hairless, made the impact of his photographs more impressive. His work communicated a raw, stark aesthetic that countered taboos and celebrated sexuality and it was this contemporary form of poeticism in a visual context in which Ren Hang expressed themes of identity, the body, love, loss and death. Nudity is not a theme in art that can be widely accepted by the Chinese older generation. Ren Hang's works are sometimes misinterpreted by the public as pornography. Although some have written that Ren Hang used his photographs to challenge Chinese cultural norms of shame around nudity, he did not believe he was challenging the stereotype and leading a revolution. For him, nudity and sexuality are natural themes which he used in his work. "Nudes are there since always. We were born nude. So talking about revolution, I don't think there's anything to revolutionize. Unless people are born with clothes on, and I want to take their clothes off, then I think this is a revolution. If it was already like that, then it's not a revolution. I just photographed things on their more natural conditions." He said he was not trying to liberate nudity and sexuality since he believed that the Chinese young generation was open-minded and less affected by the old-fashioned cultures. When Ren Hang talked about the question whether the topic of sexuality was still a taboo in China, he said: "I don't think it's related to our times, these are individual cases. Like how to say it, I think it depends on different people, it doesn't really relate to other things. I was not in the whole parents told you that you can only have sex if you get married era. The time after I grow up was already over that period, it was already different like everyone was already more relaxed."Source: Wikipedia Flesh, corpses, souls and bland flashlights, all composite into seconds or milliseconds of lights and shadows, projecting onto the film that never knows how to lie. Focus gathering and the shutter releasing, connecting his unpretentious, rebellious, wild and free perspectives towards the naked human body. The images look so natural, yet fun and unexpected. One soul after another all blossom like a newborn baby, urging to crawl out of his mother’s womb, dying to be redefined. In this era that we live in, being censored by the Chinese government has almost become a stamp of approval for contemporary artists. Ren Hang, a young man with a mature look and tanned skin, hair as short as a Chinese soldiers’, always carrying an irresistibly cute and innocent smile on his cheeks. He is, perhaps, the sole artist and photographer with the most edgy outlook towards the naked human body. Ren Hang continues to stress the fact that he is “boring“. Especially when asked about those basic questions of his inspirational origins and meanings behind the photos, he always just smiles naively, shakes his shoulders and says, “I don’t really know. I never really thought about it.” Perhaps he is such a paver, heading towards the direction of happiness and creative freedom without realizing the pathways he has left behind. You might find him confusing and puzzling, but he has the ambience of such kindness that you would always trust that no evil can come out from him. He is merely a pure form of naked human beings. Source: ITSLIQUID
Marcin Owczarek
Poland
1985
My art has always been focusing on condition of our globe and the condition of man. My antiutopian, critical photography is based on the anthropological research. I focus on exploring and interpreting the impact of: new technologies, bio-science, unconscious, fears, morals, social situations, behaviors, habits, rituals, biological changes, the use of animals, depression in urban envi...ronments, destruction of the soil, overpopulation, deforestation, universal famine and - over human life. As a result, I create the image of the 21 century and the image of our current society. In this way, by commenting behaviour of human individuals I want to indicate that: Man is imperfect. Man is a savage, greedy rebel of Nature, living between the insanity and lunacy, away from his true nature. Man live in the play cage because he was captured by Illusions of this world: welfare tyranny, desire of possessing material things, consumption, jealousy, hate...what all in all led him to the broken relationship with the globe and other human beings. As a result I stress the present process of dehumanization, mechanization and standardization of human race, false norms and illusional values that was given for the truth to the society by religion, governments,laws,propaganda, false mirror of the television...etc. In my opinion, nowadays it is essential to articulate this kind of behavior, because the way which the present world run, might guide the human species: firstly- into a total slavery, then to new nuclear era, and finally to the total extinction...There is number of potential scenarios, but one of them is definitely Total Extinction... I admire the way of dadaism as well as surrealism. My spirit flies with counterculture and the idea of transgression. I regard my critical collages as the prediction of human degradation, and as a consequence - 'Apocalypse'....... Many wise people said that before but I will repeat: we are responsible for this world and for other human beings, and in our hands is decision: Do we want to live in coexistence or do want to reproduce another monsters to this world who will fight against each other in another nuclear war... What are the crucial implications of this? - The world's Future. "You pays your money and you takes your choice".Marcin Owczarek, Lier 2011
Wolfgang Bohusch
Austria
1985
Bohusch decided to become photographer at the early age of 13. He began experimenting with old darkroom equipment of his grandmother and shooting with a 35mm camera. After studying photography for 5 years at die Graphische, Vienna he started working as freelance Production Manager, Location Scout and later Photographer or D.o.P and Director for advertising film production companies. On extensive travels he is working on his personal projects. Street- photography in India, Miami or Tokyo, landscape and aerial photography in various places as well as fashion films, music videos in London or Paris. In January 2017 Wolfgang Bohusch stayed in a tent for two weeks in Maroccos Sahara desert. Under very special conditions during his work for the series 'silicon based creatures' Bohusch experienced a period of intense meditation. Details and blurred outlines make it difficult to recognize the shape of the image at once. Pattern recognition takes place only through the perception of the seemingly random forms and structures. The viewer is encouraged to look more closely in order to get lost in the work and to let the subconscious mind wander - in order to finally be able to find his own associations. silicon based creatures With his series 'silicon based creatures' Wolfgang Bohusch invites the viewer to stand in front of his photographs, mediate, and let the mind wander into subconsciousness. Each and every work tells a different story, your own story. There are no titles, no hints for interpretation, no directions to look. Like in a Rorschach test, Bohusch wants you to find your own associations and recognize patterns that are not pregiven and therefore renders every photograph an individual experience. A millisecond is the time span for Wolfgang Bohusch's sculptures to be created but the artist allows us to ponder these millisecond sculptures calmly. The “silicone based creatures” series of 21 photographs presented at OSME Gallery is the outcome of his stay in the Sahara desert for weeks and experimenting with its elements like sand, wind, light, and chance. What you see on the photographs is thus the fusion of elements which serendipitously form into sculptures and are randomly captured on paper. The process behind these snapshots therefore resembles the behaviour patterns of bird or fish swarms. What is more, when we see them crowding together in the sky or in the water, our minds automatically associate certain forms or figures with the sudden patterns they create. As soon as we have caught one image within the crowd, it is already gone again. We get the opportunity to slowly make our own interpretations, though, and to try and find a piece of ourselves in them. So, when you have invented your creatures, where do they come from? And what do they want to tell us? If you think of them as signs, maybe even add a little bit of superstition, can they be hints to the future? Like popular customs or shamanic rituals to predict the future, Bohusch's creatures could also be prophetic figures. Or do they come from the past as mythical beings? Wolfgang Bohusch confronts us with a range of topics and questions in this series which he does not want or cannot answer himself. Lastly, he gives us another little hint with which he introduces one more existential quest. Silicone, which is a constituent of sand, is also the material used for microelectronics, like computer chips, and the basis for what creates the tools for producing the photographs in the first place. Finally, this aspect could trigger another question, or rather “the mother of all questions”: what came first? www.juliahartmann.at
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