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Desiree Cyganek
Desiree Cyganek
Desiree Cyganek

Desiree Cyganek

Country: Ivory Coast
Birth: 1979

French, from west African descent, Desiree Cyganek is a portrait photographer based in New York City. Always in touch with her artistic side, Desiree started a career as a professional dancer and actress in Paris. Destiny brought her to the United States 10 years ago, where she started photography as a hobby. It soon became obvious that it would become more than that, as she clearly had uncovered a new talent and passion. Photography has now become more than a full time job; it is her new career. Not a day goes by that she's not testing or expanding her knowledge. She always had a deep connection with her African roots and a passion for people & fashion, therefore it comes as no surprise that her expertise lies in those fields. Desiree has this special ability to make people feel at ease in front of her camera and capture their essence like no one else. Her style is clean, yet bold and filled with emotions.
 

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René Burri
Switzerland
1933 | † 2014
René Burri is a Swiss photographer known for his photos of major political, historical and cultural events and key figures of the second half of the 20th century. Burri worked for Magnum Photos and has been photographing political, military and artistic figures and scenes since 1946. He has made portraits of Che Guevara and Pablo Picasso as well as iconic pictures of São Paulo and Brasília. Burri studied in Zurich, Switzerland at the School of Applied Arts from 1949 to 1953, where he worked under Hans Finsler, Alfred Willimann and Johannes Itten. From 1953 to 1955 he began working as a documentary filmmaker while completing military service. During this time he also began working with Leica cameras. Then he worked for Disney as a cameraman until 1955. From 1956 to 1959 he traveled extensively to places including Turkey, Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Italy, France, Spain, Greece, Brazil, and Japan, which led to publications in Life, Look, Stern, Paris-Match, Epoca, and New York Times, as well as a photographic essay "El Gaucho" which appeared in Du. Burri first began working with Magnum Photos in 1955 through Werner Bischof, becoming a full member in 1959 and being elected chair of Magnum France in 1982. His first report "Touch of Music for the Deaf" on deaf-mute children was published by Life. In 1965 he assisted with the creation of Magnum Films which lead to his work on the Magnum-BBC joint production of, The Two Faces of China. In 1967 he produced a documentary on the Six-Day War in Jerusalem for German television. He produced the film Jean Tinguely in 1972. In 1963 Burri was working in Cuba when he was able to photograph the revolutionary Che Guevara; these images of Guevara smoking a cigar have become iconic. Notably, after taking the photos, Burri remembers Guevara "scaring the hell out of him". Describing a situation where an angry Che was pacing his tiny office like "a caged tiger", while being interviewed by an American woman from Look. While "hectoring" the reporter and "chomping on his cigar", Che suddenly looked Burri straight in the eye and told him "if I catch up with your friend Andy, I'll cut his throat" (while slowly drawing his finger across his neck). Andy was Andrew St. George, a fellow Magnum photographer, who had travelled with Che in the Sierra Maestra, and then later filed reports for American intelligence. Source: Wikipedia René Burri studied at the School of Applied Arts in his native city of Zurich, Switzerland. From 1953 to 1955 he worked as a documentary film-maker and began to use a Leica while doing his military service. Burri became an associate of Magnum in 1955 and received international attention for one of his first reportages, on deaf-mute children, Touch of Music for the Deaf, published in LIFE magazine. In 1956, he traveled throughout Europe and the Middle East and then went to Latin America, where he made a series on the Gauchos that was published by Du magazine in 1959. It was also for this Swiss periodical that he photographed artists such as Picasso, Giacometti, and Le Corbusier. He became a full member of Magnum in 1959, and started work on his book Die Deutschen, published in Switzerland in 1962, and by Robert Delpire the following year with the title Les Allemands. In 1963, while working in Cuba, he photographed Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara during an interview with an American journalist. His images of the famous revolutionary with his cigar appeared around the world. Burri participated in the creation of Magnum Films in 1965 and afterwards spent six months in China, where he made the film The Two Faces of China produced by the BBC. He opened the Magnum Gallery in Paris in 1962, while continuing his activities as a photographer; at the same time, he made collages and drawings. In 1998, Burri won the Dr. Erich Salomon Prize from the German Association of Photography. A big retrospective of his work was held in 2004-2005 at the Maison Européenne de la Photographie in Paris and toured many other European museums. René Burri passed away at the age of 81 on October 20, 2014. Source: Magnum Photos
Anna Grevenitis
France / United States
1974
French-born visual artist Anna Grevenitis found photography in a meandering way: her formative years were filled with the study and teaching of the English language and literature, but when her daughter was born--and a year later her son--her world naturally morphed into full-time mothering. Drawing on the experiences of the domestic to inform her daily practice, she uses her home as a stage and her body and the body of others in her familial sphere as characters to deliver, in her photographs, the essence of what she wants to express about family and the self. For her work, the act of performing is an essential step in image making. Nowadays she divides her time between research and creation, and she is interested in building long term projects in photography as an act of establishing visual memory and engaging in social visibility. Her photographs have been exhibited both in the United States and internationally. Statement REGARD /ʁə.ɡaʁ/ verb 1. To consider or think of (someone or something) in a specified way. When my daughter was born, I was told that she had the “physical markers” for Down syndrome. A few days later, the diagnosis of Trisomy 21 was confirmed with a simple blood test. Today, years later, Luigia is a lively teenager, yet these “markers” have grown with her, and her disability remains visible to the outside world. As we try to go about our ordinary lives in our community--getting ice cream after school, going grocery shopping or walking to the local library--I often catch people staring, gawking, or side-glancing at her, at us. Even though their gaze feels invasive, I perceive it as more questioning than judging, at least most of the time. With this on-going series REGARD, I am opening a window into our reality. To emphasize control over my message, these everyday scenes are meticulously set, lit up; they are staged and posed. The performers are my daughter and me. The double self-portraits are purposefully developed in black and white, for by refusing the decorative and emotionally evocative element of color, I aim to maintain a distance between us and them. The composition of the photographs expresses routine, domestic acts in which I address the viewers directly: look at us bathing; look at us grooming; here we are at bedtime; this is us on a random day at the beach. In each scene, the viewers are plunged into the outside perspective. At first glance, it may seem that I am offering us as vulnerable prey to their judgment, yet in fact I am guarding our lives, and the viewers are caught gawking--my direct gaze at the camera. My series is very basic in its concept: it shows a child, it shows a mother, it shows them living at home, performing familial acts. Because I believe in the connective power offered by the depiction of domesticity, I hope that REGARD helps the audience rethink some of their assumptions about people living with disabilities and with this, I hope my series finds a humble spot within the movement that helps people with disabilities gain visibility.
John Moffat
United Kingdom
1819 | † 1894
John Moffat was a Scottish portrait photographer, but he also produced stereoscopic photographs. Apart from being a successful businessman, he was also an amateur painter and musician and had eight children, of whom several were as multi-talented as their father. Moffat was born on the 26 April 1819 in Aberdeen, Scotland into the family of Francis Moffat (b.1782) – a bookbinder – and Elizabeth Moffat (nee Rankin – aka Rankine). He grew up in a family of three sisters and one brother but would have had another sister and two other brothers had they not died very young before he was born. Not a lot is known about John’s childhood but his father appears to have been interested in the arts and sciences. He was also keen on education and John learnt French at school, a skill which he used later in his photographic researches. By 1847, at the age of 28, John Moffat appears in directories as having his own business as an engraver at 24 Gardiner’s Crescent, Edinburgh. He continued to advertise from that address until at least 1849. On the 19th May 1847 John married Ellen Notman (aka Helen Notman) at South Leith, Midlothian, Scotland. John’s first child, Ellen Jane Moffat, was born c 1849 according to the 1851 census when she was stated as being two years old. Ellen was also known as Nelly. She grew up to work in the photography business and was living with John in 1881 according to the census that year despite her mother and father getting a divorce many years beforehand. The census in 1851 shows John, aged 31, at 1 Windsor Street, Edinburgh with his young daughter Ellen J Moffat and a 20-year-old servant called Margaret Rae. His occupation was stated as a picture engraver master. It is almost certain that John and his wife Ellen had parted, and more probably had divorced, at this stage. On 22 June 1851 John married his second wife, Sophia Maria Knott, whose brother was the photographer James Brown Knott. John and Sophia were married in Edinburgh. Mr Kennedy / Scottish National Portrait GalleryCreative Commons CC by NC © John Moffat John Moffat started his first photographic studio in 1853 but he was still advertising his skills as an engraver from the same address in 1854; apparently, he was migrating from engraver to photographer during this period. He certainly confirmed 1853 as the date that his photography business was established by printing the fact on the reverse of his carte de visite mounts. John’s second child, and his first child with his new wife Sophia, was born in 1854 and named Frank Pelham Moffat. Frank was very involved with the family firm from the early 1870s and he eventually took over when his father died in 1894. Frank was also a fine photographer and was involved at an early stage in colour photography – probably using the Autochrome process. Another child, Sophia Elizabeth Moffat was born in 1856. She never married and lived on until the 1930s. John and Sophia had a second son, Fred (John F) Moffat, in or about 1857. Kate Rankin Moffat was born on the 30 November 1859 and remained a spinster all her life. She is said to have had an active life and embraced new ideas such as motor cars. She died in 1954 in Edinburgh. John Moffat is said to have taken a set of daguerreotype photographs of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert when they visited the Crystal Palace Exhibition in London in 1855 although the whereabouts of these photographs is not now known. The Photographic Society of Scotland was formed in March 1856 and John Moffat was an active member so he would have met many early photographers and photographic researchers including Sir David Brewster and William Henry Fox Talbot who John later photographed in his studio at 103 Princes Street in 1864. A unique Day Book is still in existence from 1856 to 1858 and contains details of the studio customers, charges, expenses and profits on a weekly basis. It also records, interestingly, details of the weather which appears to have had a significant effect on business turnover. In 1857 John went to France and eventually went to Canada to become a farmer. By 1858 John had moved his studio again to 60 Princes Street, an address that is connected to his brother-in-law James Brown Knott. At that time, the carte de visite had not become popular and John would have still been producing ambrotypes in smart little cases. Kate Rankin Moffat was born on 30 November 1859 and remained a spinster all her life. She is said to have had an active life and embraced new ideas such as motor cars. She died in 1954 in Edinburgh. Arthur Elwell Moffat was born later in 1861 and went on to be a painter in watercolour and oils as well as a musician. He exhibited on many occasions and won medals for his work. It is likely that he worked in the family business as a colourist. Arthur died in 1943. In 1861 John Moffat moved his studio again, this time further west along Princes Street to better premises at 103 Princes Street where he stayed until 1875. In the same year he became a member of the Council of the prestigious Photographic Society of Scotland. The family continued to grow when Alfred Edward Moffat was born on the 4th December 1863. Alfred became very musical and played the violin and was a musical arranger. He studied in Germany where he met a local girl and got married. Alfred died in the 1950s. John and Sophia’s last child was a daughter called Alice May Moffat. She grew up and married a prominent local businessman – James Watt – a member of the Edinburgh Stock Exchange. Unknown Man with White Beard / Scottish National Portrait GalleryCreative Commons CC by NC © John Moffat The Photographic Society of Scotland, of which John was a Council Member, was wound up in 1871 and was effectively replaced by the Edinburgh Photographic Society. John Moffat later became the President of the Edinburgh Photographic Society until shortly before his death in 1894. 1873 was a major year in the life of the Moffat photographic enterprise as John moved into a prestigious studio at 125 Princes Street. This studio was run in parallel with the one at 103 Princes Street until 1875 and then became the sole outlet until the 1920s; way after John Moffat’s death. John was a determined businessman and turned to the courts on more than one occasion. In the autumn of 1875 John Moffat took another well-known Edinburgh photographer, Robertson Ross of Ross & Pringle, to court for non-payment for photographic work carried out. He won his case. An interesting article about John’s studio appeared in the Mercantile Age on the 9th September 1887 which described a visit to 125 Princes Street. A description of the way that children were photographed was particularly interesting, as follows: "Above this room (the main studio) is another room with a stronger light than the one below, and eminently suitable for taking children’s portraits. The cameras used here have wonderfully sensitive pneumatic shutters, so instantaneous and noiseless in their action that frequently the operator can engage the attention of the sitter by some pleasing manoeuvre, and when his educated eye catches a pleasing expression, he can without moving from his position, command chemicals and old Sol to instantly do the rest before the young patron is aware of it." In a second section, the reporter comments on John Moffat’s business acumen as follows "We are please to notice that everywhere great economy is manifest. Mr. Moffat, understanding the chemistry of his trade, is successful in recovering a very great quantity of his silver. We witnessed the operation of washing and recovering, and we were altogether taken by surprise at the percentage of the chloride of silver recovered" Other comments from elsewhere also support this view that John Moffat was a canny businessman and that he was always interested in new ideas and processes. John Moffat died on the 5th. March 1894 and an obituary was printed in the British Journal of Photography in the March issue of that year. A quote from the end of the obituary is very touching – "He was ever kind and considerate to his employees and generous in his treatment of them, while, in ordinary business matters all knew him to be honourable and upright in the highest degree".Source: www.cartedevisite.co.uk
MG Vander Elst
Belgium/United States
1967
Raised In Antwerp, Belgium, MG Vander Elst is a Fine Art Photographer and holds a Certificate of Photography from The Portfolio Center in Atlanta, Ga. She worked as a photographer’s assistant in NYC and developed her Portraiture work which later expanded to include, still life, abstract and landscape work. Art was all around her growing up in Antwerp, where she regularly visited the Ruben’s house, studied the Dutch Masters, and shared her parents love for Modern Art. The light, gesture and intimacy of the Dutch masters and the minimalism of modernists still influence her work. MG’s fine art photography approach is intuitive, stemming from an idea or an emotion. Whether photographing landscape, florals or abstracts she tries to make visible what is invisible, pursuing that intimate moment between inhale and exhale. Statement MG’s latest work in florals, still life and abstract work all stem from the same place, a place of loss, identity and forging ahead. Letting go "Floral images are my new center, I use flowers that I encounter in my neighborhood and local shops, it is no surprise to learn that these flowers embody the range of emotions I have been going through, like remembrance, growth, healing, refuge, and love. Through this process I am learning that photographing the simple lines and daintiness of these flowers they become an exercise in form, in juxtapositions and in letting go. In closely observing the shifting shapes of these living forms, who then transition, mature, and wilt I witness the contrasting paradox in beauty when blossoming or dying combined with their shaggy stalk and the petal’s ethereal texture which generates this visual dissonance that captivate me. I am not frozen and no longer afraid, but instead I am finding a rise of energy in this newfound freedom of moving in a place I have never been." Finding my Way "At the onset of the Pandemic, I lost my mother, simultaneously, my eldest son was preparing to leave for college. With the loss of my mother, I became the adult, the matriarch. The guidance I trusted and the intimacy I relied on was gone, that comfort of being the child vanished. With the anticipation of my son’s departure, I was thrusted into an uncharted emotional landscape, one where I felt undefined as a mother and did not know how to move forward. So, returning to myself and turning the camera onto my body is my way forward. By abstracting my body, I examine the shapes and textures of my form; in this pause, I am able to explore and chart my new emotional landscape. This way I am relearning who I am in order to know where I am going." Conformity "When I am creating still life’s in my own domestic spaces or in my studio. I am asking questions about my life today, as a woman, as mother and as a spouse. Whose ideas about myself am I conforming to? Why do I possess a pink razor, Is this herbal tea really soothing me? By calling attention to the everyday mundane possessions, we surround ourselves with, my intention is clear from the start. In certain instances, I juxtapose them with random objects, or I deliberately leave them by themselves. But by posing these objects in specific places I am adding a tension to the image and the one-dimensional image becomes a multi-dimensional exploration of the time we live in. I am making room for consideration, focusing on what that object means to us and what it evokes in us and why we surround ourselves with it. I aim to create a pause."
William Wegman
United States
1943
William Wegman is an artist best known for creating series of compositions involving dogs, primarily his own Weimaraners in various costumes and poses. Wegman reportedly originally intended to pursue a career as a painter. He received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in painting from Massachusetts College of Art in 1965 and a Master of Fine Arts degree in painting from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1967. While teaching at California State University, Long Beach, he acquired the first and most famous of the dogs he photographed, a Weimaraner he named Man Ray (after the artist and photographer). Man Ray later became so popular that the Village Voice named him "Man of the Year" in 1982. He named a subsequent dog Fay Ray (a play on the name of actress Fay Wray). On January 29, 1992, Wegman appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson and showed a video clip of Dog Duet, a short which he made in 1975 featuring Man Ray and another dog slowly and mysteriously peering around. Wegman explained that he had created the video by moving a tennis ball around, off-camera, thus capturing the dogs' attention. The same year, he did 3 network ID's for Nickelodeon starring the dogs on pedestals. William Wegman was artist-in-residence at Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts in spring 2007 where his work featured on campus in the Addison Gallery of American Art. Wegman has also been an artist in residence at Massachusetts College of Art in Boston, Massachusetts where his Circus series was created with the College's 20x24 inch Polaroid camera. He received the College's Distinguished Alumni Award in 1987. William Wegman made his appearance on Animal Planet's "Dogs 101".(Source: en.wikipedia.org)
 Izis
Lithuania
1911 | † 1980
Israëlis Bidermanas, who worked under the name of Izis, was a Lithuanian-Jewish photographer who worked in France and is best known for his photographs of French circuses and of Paris. Born in Marijampol, present-day Lithuania, Bidermanas arrived in France in 1930 to become a painter. In 1933 he directed a photographic studio in the 13th Arrondissement of Paris. During World War II, being a Jew, he had to leave occupied Paris. He went to Ambazac, in the Limousin, where he adopted the pseudonym Izis and where he was arrested and tortured by the Nazis. He was freed by the French Resistance and became an underground fighter. At that time he photographed his companions, including Colonel Georges Guingouin. The poet and underground fighter Robert Giraud was the first to write about Izis in the weekly magazine Unir, a magazine created by the Resistance. Upon the liberation of France at the end of World War II, Izis had a series of portraits of maquisards (rural resistance fighters who operated mainly in southern France) published to considerable acclaim. He returned to Paris where he became friends with French poet Jacques Prévert and other artists. Izis became a major figure in the mid-century French movement of humanist photography - also exemplified by Brassaï, Cartier-Bresson, Doisneau and Ronis - with "work that often displayed a wistfully poetic image of the city and its people." For his first book, Paris des rêves (Paris of Dreams), Izis asked writers and poets to contribute short texts to accompany his photographs, many of which showed Parisians and others apparently asleep or daydreaming. The book, which Izis designed, was a success. Izis joined Paris Match in 1950 and remained with it for twenty years, during which time he could choose his assignments. Meanwhile, his books continued to be popular with the public. Among the numerous books by Izis, Gerry Badger and Martin Parr have especial praise for Le Cirque d'Izis (The Circus of Izis), "published in 1965, but bearing the stamp of an earlier era". Shot mostly in Paris but also in Lyon, Marseille and Toulon, the photographs are "affectionate and nostalgic, but also deeply melancholic" with "a desolate undercurrent", forming a work that is "profound, moving and extraordinary". Source: Wikipedia
Thierry Cohen
France
1963
Thierry Cohen was born in Paris in 1963. He began his professional career in 1985 and is seen as one of the pioneers of digital photography. His work has been shown at the Palais de Tokyo, and the Musee de l”Homme in Paris, and in 2008 was an official selection of the Mois de la Photo. Since 2010 he has devoted himself to a single project – “Villes Enteintes” (Darkened Cities) – which depicts the major cities of the world as they would appear at night without light pollution, or in more poetic terms: how they would look if we could see the stars. Cohen’s method is original and precise and harkens back to the methodologies employed by early 19th century photographers like Gustave Le Grey. He photographs the world’s major cities, seeking out views that resonate for him and noting the precise time, angle, and latitude and longitude of his exposure. As the world rotates around its axis the stars that would have been visible above a particular city move to deserts, plains, and other places free of light pollution. By noting the precise latitude and angle of his cityscape, Cohen is able to track the earth’s rotation to places of atmospheric clarity like the Mojave, the Sahara, and the Atacama desert. There he sets up his camera to record what is lost to modern urban dwellers. Compositing the two images, Cohen creates a single new image full of resonance and nuance. The work is both political and spiritual questioning not only what we are doing to the planet but drawing unexpected connections between disparate locations. Equally importantly it asks: what do we miss by obscuring the visibility of stars? As the world's population becomes increasingly urban, there is a disjunction with the natural world which both Cohen and science posit causes both physical and psychological harm. Cities that never sleep are made up of millions of individuals breaking natural cycles of work and repose. Cohen’s photographs attempt to restore our vision, and in beautifully crafted prints and images offer the viewer a possibility - to re-connect us to the infinite energy of the stars.Source: Danziger Gallery
Candida Höfer
Germany
1944
In the realm of contemporary photography, Candida Höfer stands as a luminary, renowned for her captivating exploration of architectural spaces. Born on June 28, 1944, in Eberswalde, Germany, Höfer's journey into the realm of imagery commenced at the renowned Kunstakademie Düsseldorf, where she studied under the tutelage of influential photographers such as Bernd and Hilla Becher. It was within this environment that Höfer's distinctive style began to take shape, influenced by the meticulous attention to detail and structural composition instilled by her mentors. Throughout her career, Höfer's work has been characterized by an unwavering dedication to capturing the essence of spaces. Her photographs transcend mere documentation, evoking a profound sense of contemplation and introspection within the viewer. Through her lens, mundane environments are transformed into captivating scenes, inviting exploration of the intricate interplay between form, function, and human presence. One of Höfer's most notable series, "Interiors," delves into the architectural heritage of culturally significant spaces such as libraries, museums, and theaters. Through meticulous composition and masterful use of light, she imbues these environments with a sense of solemn grandeur, inviting viewers to immerse themselves in the rich tapestry of history and culture encapsulated within each frame. Höfer's oeuvre extends beyond the boundaries of her native Germany, encompassing a diverse array of global locales. From the opulent halls of Versailles to the austere corridors of contemporary office buildings, her photographs offer a poignant commentary on the universal themes of human existence, identity, and collective memory. In addition to her solo exhibitions, Höfer's work has been featured in prestigious institutions and galleries worldwide, solidifying her status as one of the most influential photographers of her generation. Awards and accolades, including the prestigious Erasmus Prize in 2010, further underscore the profound impact of her contributions to the world of photography. Beyond her artistic achievements, Höfer's legacy also resides in her role as a mentor and educator, inspiring countless aspiring photographers to push the boundaries of their creativity and develop a deeper appreciation for the nuances of visual storytelling. As Candida Höfer continues to navigate the ever-evolving landscape of contemporary photography, her unwavering commitment to capturing the essence of spaces ensures that her work will endure as a timeless testament to the beauty and complexity of the built environment.
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