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Matt Black
Matt Black

Matt Black

Country: United States
Birth: 1970

Matt Black is from California’s Central Valley, a rural, agricultural area in the heart of the state. He started photography working at his hometown newspaper. He was nominated to Magnum Photos in 2015. Since 2015, he has travelled over 100,000 miles across 46 states for his project American Geography. Other works include The Dry Land, about the impact of drought on California’s agricultural communities, and The Monster in the Mountains, about the disappearance of 43 students in the southern Mexican state of Guerrero. Both these projects, accompanied by short films, were published by The New Yorker. His work has appeared regularly in TIME Magazine, The New Yorker, The California Sunday Magazine, and other publications. He has been honored three times by the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Prize, including their top honor for journalism. In 2015, he received the W. Eugene Smith Memorial Award for Humanistic Photography, and was named a senior fellow at the Emerson Collective. He lives in Exeter, a small town in the Central Valley.

Source: Magnum Photos


Matt Black, an artist from California’s Central Valley, produces enigmatic narrative works in his native region and in related places that are deeply grounded in societal and environmental concerns. Since 2014, Black has traveled over 100,000 miles across 46 states for his project American Geography, a personal portrait of an increasingly divided and unequal America. Black’s gripping images of some of the most marginalized communities in America are as visually captivating as they are brutally honest and human.

A member of Magnum Photos, Matt Black creates work that while rooted in the documentary tradition, is also noted for its deeply personal approach, its emotional engagement, and visual intensity. Excerpts from American Geography have been widely published and exhibited in the United States and internationally. A book of the project will be published in 2021 by Thames and Hudson, to accompany a traveling exhibition that opened at the Deichtorhallen Hamburg in 2020. Other bodies of work include The Dry Land, about the impact of drought on California’s agricultural communities, and The Monster in the Mountains, about the disappearance of 43 students in the southern Mexican state of Guerrero in 2014. Both of these projects, accompanied by short films, were published by The New Yorker.

In addition to the New Yorker, portfolios of Black’s work have appeared in TIME Magazine, The California Sunday Magazine, as well as many international publications such as Le Monde, France and Internazionale, Italy. Black’s Instagram feed The Geography of Poverty, where he experiments conceptually with GeoTagging and other digital documentary approaches, has over 233,000 followers and earned him TIME’s Instagram Photographer of the Year in 2014. He has been honored three times by the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Prize, has been named a senior fellow at the Emerson Collective, and was the recipient of the W. Eugene Smith Memorial Award in 2015 for Humanistic Photography.

Source: Robert Koch Gallery


 

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Joe Vitone
United States/Italy
1954
Joe Vitone is a documentary fine art photographer and educator living in Austin, Texas. His work consists of large format portraiture and landscape in the United States as well as panoramic and other views examining cultures abroad. He is Professor of Photocommunications at St. Edward's University in Austin, Texas where he has lived with his family since 1991. He teaches traditional as well as digital photography and electronic media. He has received a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship in photography and been a Fulbright scholar in Costa Rica as well as a Fulbright Specialist in the Apulia region of southern Italy. In both Costa Rica and Italy, Vitone’s work centers around small-scale family based agriculture. In addition to presentations given in the United States, he has lectured on his photography in Australia, China, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam. Involved in international education, he has led American students on study abroad programs in China, France, Japan, and Thailand. With a focus on documentary photography, he has worked with students outside of the U.S. in Australia, Costa Rica, France, Italy, and Thailand. His work has been exhibited at a number of venues including one-person exhibitions at the Hungarian Museum of Photography, the Akron Art Museum, and the Instituto Cultural Peruano-Norteamericano. His work is held in a number of collections including the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Center for Creative Photography, the Museum of Fine Art, Houston, Hungarian Museum of Photography, and the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of American History. About Family Records: These photographs have been drawn from an ongoing series of 4x5 and 8x10 inch (10x12.5 and 20.3x25.4 cm) negative portraits called Family Records which was begun in 1998 to document members of immediate and extended families of the photographer and his wife. 2017 marked 20 years of work on the pictures. The majority of the portrait subjects live in an orbit around the Rust Belt city of Akron, Ohio, former home to the country's major rubber and tire producers including Goodyear, Goodrich, and Firestone. Doylestown, Barberton, and other rural communities neighboring Akron serve as locations for many of these images along with Akron proper. The photographs generate dialogues between one another at a number of levels, some directly, as in lineage and interpersonal relation of mother to daughter, father to son, or brother to sister, and some at less specific and more universal places as well. Comment is made on finding purpose or respite in what can be a painful life, on time and aging, on moving from childhood to adulthood, on relations sustained or lost through the years, on masculinity and femininity, on sensuality and beauty seen not only in youth but in age, and on our valuing of ourselves and others not only because of our strengths but, perhaps even more so, by reason of our vulnerabilities.
Newsha Tavakolian
Newsha Tavakolian (born 1981) is an Iranian photojournalist and documentary photographer. She has worked for TIME Magazine, The New York Times, Le Figaro, and National Geographic. Her work focuses on women's issues and she has been a member of the Rawiya women's photography collective which she co-established in 2011. Tavakolian is a full member of Magnum Photos. Born and brought up in Tehran, at age 16, Tavakolian took a six-month photography course, after which she began working as a professional photographer in the Iranian press. She started at the women's daily newspaper Zan, and later worked for other nine reformist dailies, all of which have since been banned. She covered the July 1999 student uprising, using her Minolta with a 50mm lens, and her photographs were published in several publications. However, she was forced to go on hiatus from her photojournalist work following the "chaos" of Iran’s presidential election in 2009. During this time, she began other projects focusing on art using photography as well as social documentary. Tavakolian’s photographs became more artistic and involved social commentary. She got her international break in 2001 at age 21, when she met J.P. Pappis, founder of Polaris Images, New York at a photography festival in Perpignan, France. She began covering Iran for Polaris Images, in the same year, and started working as a freelancer for The Times in 2004. Tavakolian has worked internationally, covering wars, natural disasters and social documentary stories in Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Yemen. Her work has been published by international magazines and newspapers such as TIME Magazine, Newsweek, Stern, Le Figaro, Colors, New York Times Magazine, Der Spiegel, Le Monde, NRC Handelsblad and National Geographic. Common themes in her work are photo stories of women, friends and neighbors in Iran; the evolving role of women in overcoming gender-based restrictions; and contrasting the stereotypes of western media. Her photo projects include Mother of Martyrs (2006), Women in the Axis of Evil (2006), The Day I Became a Woman (2010) and Look (2013). Tavakolian was part of the 2006 Joop Swart Masterclass organized by World Press Photo. In 2007 she was a finalist for the Inge Morath Award. Her work has been exhibited and collected at institutions such as the British Museum, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and Somerset House, London. (April 2014), where she was one of eight Iranian photographers featured in the critically acclaimed Burnt Generation exhibition. In June 2015 Tavakolian became a nominee member of Magnum Photos and in 2019 a full member. She lives and works in Tehran and is married to the Dutch journalist Thomas Erdbrink. In 2019, the Iranian authorities barred her from working in the country.Source: Wikipedia Newsha Tavakolian is known for her powerful work covering wars in Iraq and social issues in her native Iran. With clarity and sensitivity, Tavakolian has photographed female guerilla fighters in Iraqi Kurdistan, Syria and Colombia, prohibited Iranian female singers and the lives of people living under sanctions. Over the years, her practice has shifted from photojournalism to photography as art. A self-taught photographer, Tavakolian began working professionally in the Iranian press at the age of 16, at women’s daily newspaper Zan. At the age of 18, she was the youngest photographer to cover the 1999 student uprising, which was a turning point for the country’s blossoming reformist movement and for Tavakolian personally as a photojournalist; a year later she joined New York-based agency Polaris Images. In 2003, she started working internationally, covering the war in Iraq. She has since covered regional conflicts, natural disasters and made social documentary stories. Her work has been published in international magazines and newspapers such as Time Magazine, Newsweek, Stern, Le Figaro, Colors, The New York Times, Der Spiegel, Le Monde, NRC Handelsblad, The New York Times Magazine and National Geographic. Commercial clients include Qatar foundation, who commissioned her to make a book about education around the world and Shiseido, who commissioned a two-year assignment looking at the meaning of beauty in Paris, France.Source: Magnum Photos
Anne Helene Gjelstad
Anne Helene Gjelstad is an award-winning photographer and educator. After graduation from the Norwegian National Academy of Craft and Art Industry in 1982 she had her own fashion studio in Oslo for 25 years. Among her clients were HM Queen Sonja, Norwegian artists, magazines and the textile industry. In 2006 she felt the need for a change and decided to follow her childhood dream and become a photographer. She took the two-year class in photography at Bilder Nordic School of Photography (2007-08) as well a numerous workshops by some of the leading photographers of our time such as Joyce Tenneson, Mary Ellen Mark, Greg Gorman and Vee Speers. Anne Helene's works has been has been exhibited worldwide; in the National Art Museum of China in Beijing, in Centro Fotografico Alvarez Bravo in Mexico, in Ljubljana in Slovenia, around Estonia including the Lobby in the Estonian Parliament in Tallinn and in the National Museum in Tartu as well as in The House of Photography in Oslo. Anne Helene Gjelstad has her photo studio in an old barn surrounded by beautiful landscape just outside of Oslo. She also gives lectures and teaches portrait photography and postproduction. For her portraits, she is rewarded numerous awards. Statement For eleven years, since 2008, I have worked on portraying the lives of the older women on the small Estonian islands of Kihnu and Manija in the Baltic Sea. Colourful, interesting and friendly, they represent a culture and a way of life that is changing despite the strong anchor of tradition. These robust women are used to working hard, and take care of almost everything. They bring up the children, make the clothes, plough the fields, drive the tractors and take care of the animals. The men spend much time away from home, fishing or working on the mainland or abroad. Life is often hard. This is normal here. Nobody asks questions. You do what you must. This is how you get a big heart and strong hands. The voices of these hushed culture bearers need to be heard and kept for generations to come in a small society that is rapidly changing towards western standards, and where the traditional culture and identity is naturally slipping away. I have aimed to tell the women's stories truthfully and I have photographed their daily lives and activities, clothing and bedrooms, kitchens and farmhouses, the details, the surroundings and landscapes as well as the ceremony held in a deceased person's kitchen only three hours after she had passed away. To tell the fuller story, I have also interviewed some of the women about their lives, their experiences during war and occupation, family life, work, food and thoughts about the future. My book is my contribution to record and help preserve this unique culture for the future and give these old, wise women the voice they deserve as the quiet nation builders they really are.
Ayanava Sil
I am Ayanava Sil a resident of Kolkata, India. By education I hold a degree of Master Of Business Administration in Marketing. Photography to me is an exemption to see things differently. I am a Street and Documentary photographer, with an objective of documenting everyday life. The uncertainty and the suspense drives me the most towards these genres of Photography. Documenting people over the years has provided me with the invaluable opportunity to explore the unknown and to embrace the conglomerate realities of people. I am one of the administrators and curator of Streets Of Calcutta which is the oldest and the largest Street Photography archive of Kolkata. My works has been published and recognized by different platforms like National Geographic, National Geographic Traveller India, CNN America, Getty Images, Business Standard, World-Street-Photography Book 5, APF Street Photography Magazine, Better Photography India, Asian Photography, Chiiz Magazine etc. I have been awarded by The Andrei Stenin International Press Photo Awards, News Times, Eye Win Awards, Golden Orchid International Photography Awards etc. My works has also been exhibited in multiple photography exhibition, to name a few, Jaipur Art Summit 2016, Ariano International Film Festival 2017, Kolkata International Photography Festival 2019, Wlasnymi Slowami Film Festival 2019. Where I Bloom As the world combats with an invisible enemy, many of our lives have come to a standstill now. A month ago our lives were pretty foreseeable with simple daily conventional work that all of us were looking forward to. The coronavirus pandemic has changed the whole scenario, today countries are under locked down, schools and universities have been closed, events are cancelled and many people have been asked to work from home. We have seen the Government enforcing every preventive measure to slow the spread of the virus and flatten the curve. During this critical time, it is essential that everyone stays at home and helps to prevent the spread of this virus. In these tough times, photography is one of the major businesses that has been affected a lot by this pandemic. All studios have been shut down, weddings have been postponed, all the sports events have been cancelled and presently more than half of the world is locked down and there is no possibility of travelling. I am a photographer who loves to roam around the city unwearyingly to document life on the streets but due to the pandemic it is impossible to go out of my house to shoot now. So to keep myself in practice and to keep my sanity I chose to document my house but with a definite objective as this work of mine will have a different approach from the rest of my works. Also, I challenged myself to shoot everything through my phone only. So I started shooting every corner of my house from the ground floor to the terrace, through the windows and the doors, the plants in my house to the birds which flies above my terrace. I decide not to include any human subject and the only reason behind this decision is because we often feel like we are the most important species, but the fact is that we will fade away with time but we will leave behind a lot of things when we are gone. I tried to portray those moments keeping the photographs minimalist and graphical in form and ambiguous in nature. During all this time I had an interesting observation and I discovered that sunlight creates fascinating graphical shadow movements in different parts of my house during each phase of the day. I think that the only positive outlook amidst the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak is that nature has started healing. I do not remember when I last saw such timely Norwesters in the past few years. The Norwesters generally hit during the months of April and May. It mostly occurs late in the evening when thick, dark and black clouds start appearing in the sky. It generally moves from west to east bringing torrential rain often with strong wind and lasts only for a short period of time. The Norwesters are beneficial for cultivation purposes in West Bengal and Bangladesh. This year, the Norwesters bought different and beautiful cloud patterns and I tried to weave them within my work as well.
Piotr Zbierski
Piotr Zbierski - Studied photography at National Film School. Author of three individual exhibitions (White Elephants, Here, Love has to be reinvented), participant in collective exhibitions and publications including Photokina and Lab East. He presented his works in many countries like Poland, Germany, Portugal, Russia, Slovakia. As well as magazines (Shots Magazine, Ninja Mag, Archivo Zine, Die Nacht, Gup Magazine). In 2012 he won the prestigious prize for young photographer Leica Oscar Barnack Newcomer Award. His work was nominated to Deutsche Börse Photography Prize and has been shortlisted in many other prizes (Les Nuits Photographiques 2012, Terry O’Neill Award) for his series Pass by me. His works has been shown at festival in Arles 2012 and are in collection of Kiyosato Museum of Photographic Arts. He lives and works in Lodz.About Love has to be reinventedThe series "Love has to be reinvented" began in 2012 and its starting point was not an image but my personal experience, which changed my view and redefined my opinion on many issues. At the same time, it is neither my diary nor any personal document; recently such a name is given to whatever cannot be named. Titles of my series are just mottos for my creative works at their particular stages. Words are created by letters in the alphabet, which is a matter of convention depending on culture. I build my series out of emotions, which are a biological fact, they are unquestionable. The key objective I identify for myself is availability of a feeling. I really want the person looking at my photographs to experience something more and not just say whether photographs are good or bad. Photography does not begin with an image, it does not end with an image, either; I put on authenticity, and not on originality. An image is a form of communication of a higher art form, which is life itself. I took the title from the French poet, Artur Rimbaud, who wrote these words and expressed criticism of France and times he lived in about a hundred years ago. I returned to these words because I think the world has not changed so much, and I criticize a contemporary world, which has gone in the wrong direction, in my opinion. And I do not mean people but structures built around the castle, which the book hero has never reached. A major objective of my work is to get through to the essence of human emotions, to their purest form with no additions, no gadgets. To show a man in the way he has been created, a man from a primeval village. In a contemporary world, such an image may be created using a certain type of imagination because we are very far away from such a status quo; therefore, my work is reality-based but it is not the reality itself. It is an attempt to invoke and depict certain human impulses with full acceptation of their inherent contradictions. Like love: it is as full of adoration as hatred; a day could not exist without a night. I will finish this three-year's series in spring 2015 during the total sun eclipse, which can be observed in Iceland. It is a characteristic clamp for my creative work in which I start from a personal, private and single experience at the very beginning, and come through an image to a part, which is common for us all, and independent of me. A macro scale has its reflection in a micro scale while a normal scale, in which we live in, is its pulsating reflection. To follow theories of contemporary scientists, only a ballet-dancer may be smaller, and in macro scale - a multiple universe. Life is a film directed by the universe while the world is the largest accumulation of sensually available metaphors, a secret in secret or a metaphor in a metaphor. Rimbaud has also written that eternity is skies mixed with water; quite right: black and white, grey on grey; in a child's drawing huge blue and objectively sacred transparency. In my opinion, there is one reality and infinitely many visions. To sum it up as simple as I can: if the world is a tree growing more and more branches (metaphors), then life is the fruit. While love is juice of various tastes in the same way as resin is what a tree uses for weeping. All this happens in the surroundings of eternal gases where toxic ones come away leaving space to healthy ones. Rootstocks and roots grow expanding in the same way. Who are people then?Undoubtedly, they are savages from a primeval village who have learnt what a real taste of love is: they adored each other at the expense of "god's" hatred, they are Adam and Eve. It is only owing to such a full image of love that new generations could come into existence. I also invite to see the video work titled "Lodz", in which I develop motifs I have earlier discussed. Another continuing video is in progress. Bottomless source is RGB without DNAPiotr Zbierski
Polly Gaillard
United States
1965
Polly Gaillard is a fine art photographer, writer, and educator. She is part-time Professor of Art at Furman University and has taught photography workshops and college courses for more than ten years including summers abroad teaching American students in Prague, Czech Republic, and Cortona, Italy. Polly received a Master of Fine Arts in Visual Arts from Vermont College of Fine Arts in 2010. She has exhibited her fine art photographs nationally and published a limited edition artist book, Pressure Points, with a foreword by actress Jamie Lee Curtis. Polly's photographic skills traverse contemporary art, documentary, portrait, and traditional photographic practices. She lives in Greenville, SC with her daughter. You, From a Distance Making portraits in a pandemic is challenging if you like to get closer than six feet to your subject. Frustrated by an inability to work at close range, I began to make portraits on my computer screen via FaceTime and Zoom by photographing friends, family, acquaintances, strangers, and my daughter at her father's home. This collaboration with others is particularly rewarding, especially when I've put the camera down, and we sit screen to screen discussing the changes in our collective worlds while checking in to make sure the other is okay. Each person has been generous in showing me around their homes to find the right background and light. They move furniture, take pictures off the wall, change clothing to create the right contrast, and position their laptops or phones so that I can take their picture at just the right angle. I sit behind my screen watching them do the work that I so desperately want to do as I experience a heightened sense of ambivalence, the love of "seeing" others, the distaste for lack of physical control over the situation. At times, the process calls for a third person to hold the camera phone, sometimes that assistant is a six-year-old girl, a father, a husband, or a cousin. During the awkwardness of the portrait session, there are moments of laughter when cats photobomb the sitting, a mother walks in the room wanting to reclaim her office space, a dad saunters by with a laundry basket, a sibling or grandchild screams from an adjoining room, and many phones crash to the floor from their perch of prime picture-taking position. We laugh together across connected distances about the absurdity of the situation and that I am trying to make a meaningful portrait amid unpredictability. Strangely, I find the absurdity satisfying; everything feels peculiar at this moment in time. For a more technically astute photographer than myself, the lack of technical command over making screen portraits would be unnerving. In essence, the image is blurry if the Wifi connection isn't clear. There are uncontrollable color shifts due to monitor calibrations; a moire pattern may appear because the screen is refreshing, and the perspective of the body can distort if the phone isn't perfectly parallel to the subject. I won't elaborate on how the highlights and shadows clip. The image noise and pixelation can drive you mad if you don't accept it as divine intervention. I find myself wanting to jump into the scene and move things and bodies, hold reflectors, close blinds, and refrain from making my subject do the heavy lifting. However, I sit behind the computer giving direction to "look to the right, chin down, eyes up, come closer to the camera" and then I embrace every technical flaw as if it's a gift. The power I have over the subject and the limitation I command over the image humbles me. The vulnerability I feel in putting these imperfect images into the world is tempered by the realization that we are all powerless in the face of this pandemic. You, From a Distance reflects the way I have experienced life during the Covid-19 pandemic- a personal feeling of distance and loss but with a desire to hold onto normalcy of making pictures, albeit without influence over the outcome. I am interested in these new ways of seeing each other and being together without being together - I look at you on my computer, in return, you look back at me through a phone or laptop while you can also see yourself in the frame. Who are we looking at - ourselves or others? The intersection of gazes is countless at times; it excites and confuses me. The process of looking and seeing divided by screens changes everything I have learned about image-making. The portraits become my memory of shared moments across time zones with distant faces; the four walls of my house expand into the space of others' homes. The intimacy I feel with the subject ironically is far greater than the portraits I make in-person in a time before social distance. In the span of one month, I have virtually traveled to five countries, five states, and homes nearby in South Carolina. Although more than the required physical distance is maintained through these portrait sittings, the mutual human connection is undoubtedly rich with meaning and unlimited possibility. December and Everything After
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
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