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Ragnar B. Varga
Ragnar B. Varga
Ragnar B. Varga

Ragnar B. Varga

Country: Norway
Birth: 1974

Ragnar B. Varga is a Hungarian-born Norwegian photographer with a passion for emotive storytelling through his photography. He spent several years discovering the world, living in Hungary, England, Spain as a freelance photographer and even sailing around the globe as a cruise ship photo manager before returning to Norway. The energy and character of all these places have profoundly influenced his art. His passion for photography revolves around contemplating human connection through metaphors found in natural spaces. The photographs are a contemplation of the world around us. They slow time just enough to capture the narratives and anecdotes that can be found in a moment of stillness amidst an otherwise chaotic world. Ragnar currently lives in Bergen, Norway.
 

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Mariska Karto
Netherlands
Mariska Karto is an artist/ fine art-photographer born in Suriname (South-America) and raised in the Netherlands. In this age of rapidity and technical development, in which human is exposed to impersonal detachment of current technical era, Mariska Karto creates the vulnerable and intensive dimensions of human feelings and emotions. This all happens in the dreamworld she has created with her technique in which past and present have found their way to each other, in this era of transformation.She talks to you in a language without words using symbolism in a dreamworld of historic paintings atmosphere.Mystique, tragic and erotic are the keywords for her work. Her work are like old stories escaped from an old world of eternal dreams, eternal emotions and eternal feelings that existed for hundred of years but still repeats themselves as in a pattern of an earthy rite, in this new modern contemporary era.Her works are like poems and thoughts, restless ones but are also like whispers of thoughtless experiences, floating in a centuries long movement in time.Artist Statement"My work is based on a period in which photography did not exist, It was not until the end of the 18th century that it was invented. As a result of this, people thought that photography would make the art of painting disappear, especially in the post modern era, the traditional art had to make way for new technical developments. In my work I seek and found a respectful connection of technique and traditional craft through a striking contradiction. Painters in the Baroque/renaissance time were trying to paint as true-to-life with painting-techniques and color applications. What a camera does is portray the world in its realistic colors. That’s the contradiction in my work, it’s the other way around. I shoot realistic images and through an intensive transformation process, the work is changed, true-to-life in the characteristic Baroque colors and style of that time. Eventually, this says nothing about photography and technique, but more about the great masters of that gone era, they were able to be as realistic and accurate as possible with brush and paint the world in all its reality… That’s the great contradiction in my work, I’m leaving the visible reality of our current time, and bring the invisible realism of the past forward in my work. As a result of this, I pull away present time from its structure and then time appears to be just a definition, which slowly fades away, when current and past becomes interwoven with each other.” More background info: "I mix skills from different worlds together. It is a blend of skills of my (I'm originally a painter and sketcher, textiles - I was a textile artist some years ago, photography and image processing) that ultimately meets each other in this form of art. A main factor are also social emotional influences in my life which developed how I see, learn and finally understand things in an essential (psychological) way. All these (artistic) elements from different areas and personal influences come together in a work of mine."
Heinrich Kühn
Austria / Germany
1866 | † 1944
Carl Christian Heinrich Kühn (25 February 1866 in Dresden – 14 September 1944 in Birgitz) was an Austrian–German photographer and photography pioneer. Heinrich Kühn is regarded as one of the forefathers of fine art photography, which helped photography establish itself as an art on its own. His photographs closely resemble impressionist paintings, with their frequent use of soft lighting and focus. Kühn was part of the pictorialist photographic movement. Kühn mainly used the gum bichromate technique, applied in several layers, and thus allowing for previously unseen color tonalities. In 1911, Kühn invented the Gummigravüre technique, a combination of photogravure and Gum bichromate. In 1915 he developed the Leimdruck technique, which uses Animal glue as Colloid and produces pictures similar to gum prints. He also invented the Syngraphie, a forgotten technique that uses two negatives of different sensitivity to obtain a larger tonal spectrum. Kühn used Autochrome from its appearance in 1907; his Autochromes have been called "ethereal dreams of childhood, full of vaulted sunny skies and giddy perspectives, as gloriously cathartic as they are emotionally charged".Source: Wikipedia Heinrich Kühn, originally Carl Christian Heinrich Kühn was born on February 25th, 1866 in Dresden, Germany. Kühn was one of the central figures of international art photography at the beginning of the twentieth century. His lifelong goal was to establish the photographic image as a medium for rendering an artistic vision as precisely and creatively as in painting and drawing. Along with Alfred Stieglitz and other friends, Kühn made the stylized photographic an element of the gesamtkunstwerk, which translates to "ideal work of art", which the Secessionists aspired to create. The most important tool for this was the gum bichromate process that he had perfected and the free choice of paper and pigment, which made the picture look more like a print than a conventional photograph. This allowed him to deliberately alter the brightness contrasts to fit his notion of the image and dissolve its sharpness. Too much sharpness was considered "non-artistic" because it veered away from painting, thus eliminating it where he saw fit. Kühn reduced the romantic cosmos of "Pictorialism" to the point of abstraction, thus exhibiting a sense of timelessness and balance. Kühn's work is represented in many collections, including Eastman House Rochester (New York), Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York), Museum of Modern Art (New York), Museum of Fine Arts (Boston), Kupferstich-Kabinett (Dresden), Hanmburgische Lichtbildstelle (Hamburg), Museum of Fine Arts (Houston), and Musée d'Orsay (Paris).Source: Peter Fetterman Gallery
Tim Franco
France/Poland
Tim Franco is French-Polish freelance photographer based in Shanghai. Since he first came to China in 2005, Tim Franco got fascinated by the fast social and urban transformation that chinese cities where going through. He has spent some time documenting those growth through urban photography but also by studying social changes, such at the underground art world and the social problems related to the evolutions of the cities. Among his projects is a comprehensive depiction of the growth of the alternative music scene in China and particularly Shanghai. The project was synthesized and published in a book, “Shanghai Soundbites”, released in June 2008 in response to the attitude towards cultural expression manifested in the lead up to the Beijing Olympics. Subsequently, the pictures have been included in numerous news and lifestyle publications both in China and abroad. He now continues his work documenting the urban development of chinese cities and its social impact on the local people. He is also involved in local youth and underground movement both in China and greater asia. Tim Franco is a regular contributor to Le Monde ( newspaper and magazine ), but his work has also been published in the New York Times, International Herald Tribune, Bloomberg, Financial Times, Le Point, NRC, Wiwo, Global Journal, Architecture d’Aujourd’hui, The Fader, CNN online, Time Out, Urban. About the series Vertical Communism Vertical Communism is a long term project about the city of Chongqing. This city, one of the biggest in central china, went through one of the fastest development process in the country. The main reason is, located upstream of the three gorges dam, the government has welcomed all displaced population from submerged region into its main urban areas. The city is fascinating because of its accelerated development that produced high rises buildings on the side of rivers and mountains, taking away the traditional charms of the old Chang Kai Shek capital, but also because of its political and social history. Once at the hand of the biggest organized crime group in China, the city has been re manipulated into a neo communist style red propaganda machine, led by the highly controversial son of a famous revolutionary named Bo Xilai. With his wife now in prison for the murder of a British national, and his personal implication in corruptions and tortures, Bo Xilai has been quickly removed from any government places in China and the city is looking once again for a new direction. I personally see Chongqing as a macro representation of the whole China. With its tumultuous political history and its growing social pressure for managing farmers coming into urban areas for a better life, all of it pushed by a constant need of investments and fast modernization, I wanted to portray this view of a growing china, far away from the common views of eastern cities such as shanghai or Beijing. From a photographic point of view, I have decided to shoot the people in their environment. But i have decided to take a step back, using medium format film camera, I want to transmit the feeling of scales that the city and china in general is facing. Urban Scales, Social Scales, the country's biggest problem is now to find a way to link some extremes the highly rich to the very poor, the extravagant to the meaningful. Vertical Communism is a portrait of Chinese a megapolis full of contradiction, trying to keep up with its unpredictable modernization. Interview with Tim Franco All About Photo: When did you realize you wanted to be a photographer? Tim Franco: There is not a precise moment. When I was young, I loved writing stories, then my passion became music. I always wanted to share my ideas and vision of things through some mediums at the end it became photography. Where did you study photography? When I was a kid, my artist mother pushed me from one opening to the other, through museums and galleries. At first I hated it, and then became used to it and started to hang out more and more in her studio, until I took away her old cameras , I have learn through experience, other photographers and reading tutorials. How could you describe your style? Photographers tend to be classified, put into boxes, commercial photographer, photojournalists, artists, etc. I never really know how to classify my work. What I love is telling stories, document facts with an artistic esthetic to it. I also enjoy working on creative commercial assignments. I always try to stay simple in the esthetic and subtle about the story. What kind of gear do you use? Camera, lens, digital, film? For my personal work, I really enjoy medium format. When I see something, most of the time, I ideally want to frame it in square. I don't really like naming brands, they all have different feeling and esthetic and it really depends the look you want to give your image. To name a few I personally work with Hasselblad and old rolleiflex. For commercial work, I use Canon because of their price and availability in terms of lenses.> Do you spend a lot of time editing your images? When shooting film, I usually spend very little time editing, just cleaning dust on films and other small details. When shooting commercial work on digital its another story. Clients are very specific about what they want and color out of raw files needs to go through extensive treatment. My photo agency works with a retouching studio for most of our commercial projects. What advice would you give a young photographer? Those days, its very easy to call yourself a photographer, grab a camera , a couple of nice prime lenses and you can get some good images. But I think young photographers should really focus on what are they trying to say with their images. What makes a great photo is not the instant esthetic of it but the impact that image will have on its viewer. An idea, a sentence, a project you would like to share? One of the main project I worked on for the past year is about one particular city in China called Chongqing. Since 2009, I am going there quite frequently, at the beginning for some press assignments since the city have seen lot of interesting political stories and turmoils but also because it fascinates me. Both from an esthetic point of view and from its stories. This giant megapolis has been forcly populated with countryside people and has now a very hard time to deal its urbanization. "I personally see Chongqing as a macro representation of the whole China. With its tumultuous political history and its growing social pressure for managing farmers coming into urban areas for a better life, all of it pushed by a constant need of investments and fast modernization, I wanted to portray this view of a growing china, far away from the common views of eastern cities such as shanghai or beijing. From a photographic point of view, I have decided to shoot the people in their environment. But I have decided to take a step back, using medium format film camera, I want to transmit the feeling of scales that the city and china in general is facing. Urban Scales, Social Scales, the country's biggest problem is now to find a way to link some extremes the highly rich to the very poor, the extravagant to the meaningful. Vertical Communism is a portrait of chinese a megapolis full of contradiction, trying to keep up with its unpredictable modernization." Your best and worst memory as a photographer? Being a professional photographers gives you a chance to go to many great places and meet amazing people. Sometimes the best memory is all the instants that led you to take a particular photo, the untold stories. What happened in the discussion you had with the person you were about to portray, how did you get to this fantastic point of view etc. For worst memory there is always issues of dealing with authorities, this large gap of misunderstanding between the photographer wanting to tell a story and a person not allowing you to shoot. This is always very annoying. More about METAMORPOLIS More about UNPERSON
Sean Perry
United States
1968
Sean Perry is a fine-art photographer living and working in New York City and Austin, Texas. His photographs and books center on architecture, space and light - expressing the ambiance felt within built environments. He is currently completing three series/books on New York City entitled Monolith, Gotham and Fotopolis, as well as exhibiting a recently completed body of work on the dreamscape of temporary environments, Fairgrounds. Perry attended Berklee College of Music and was a working musician before turning to photography in 1996. His photographs and books have been acquired by notable private collectors including Manfred Heiting and Alan Siegel in addition to being held in the permanent collections of the Museum Fine Arts Houston, the Amon Carter Museum, Wittliff Gallery of Southwestern & Mexican Photography, and the Harry Ransom Center. Cloverleaf Press published Perry's first limited edition book, Transitory in 2006, and followed with a second title, Fairgrounds in the Fall of 2008. In 2009 he was selected as a finalist for the Hasselblad Masters award for his work and book Fairgrounds. His photographs have been published widely including the New York Times Sunday Magazine, Graphis, Camera Arts, New York Magazine, Billboard and American Photography. He has served as an adjunct Professor of Photography in Austin since 2001 as well as an adjunct Professor for the School of Visual Arts in New York City since 2006. Perry frequently contributes his photographs to auctions that benefit photographic and social concerns. His work is represented by the Stephen L. Clark Gallery, Austin. Interview with Sean Perry All About Photo: When did you realize you wanted to be a photographer? Sean Perry: When I was younger I didn't know or have access to any professional photographers, but I really loved movies and looked at a lot of books. At that time I got into music and everything else was just secondary. As a musician I always thought about pictures and the visual atmosphere great songs provoke and in my thirties I started photographing and haven’t stopped. AAP: Where did you study photography? With whom? SP: I don’t have a formal background studying photography but it’s not quite right to say I'm self taught either. One of my old bandmates, Jeff Miller is a brother to me, a great photographer and my first teacher - I learned about cameras, making good pictures and printing in the darkroom. That experience was also my first big introduction to contemporary artists like Joel-Peter Witkin and The Starns. I later had important mentors in a photographer I assisted for, Frank Curry and a sculptor who has had a tremendous influence on me as an artist and photographer, John Christensen. AAP:Do you have a mentor? SP: I have a few friends and colleagues who I admire and trust that I ask for insight and guidance with various things... Elizabeth Avedon, Jace Graf, Stephen Clark - there are others. I ask different people, different questions for different reasons if that makes sense. I think it's important to deeply consider who you ask and why. I've been a client of Mary Virginia Swanson for many years and her savvy is always invaluable, I truly owe her a great deal. I'm always learning and seeking out the chance to improve and grow. AAP: How long have you been a photographer? SP: I have been making pictures consistently since 1996 and started working professionally in 1998. AAP: Do you remember your first shot? What was it? SP: What I remember most are the pictures that when I saw the film, they made me feel that the image was somehow better, or more than my capability at the time. It would lead to months of chasing and trying to catch up to the image. The first time that happened was of a barren tree in the wintertime, backlit. I remember making the other pictures from that time, but the experience of seeing something unexpected back on the contact sheets always sticks with me as meaningful. AAP: What or who inspires you? SP: Music always. Also the discovery and study of people that give themselves to their pursuits with the discipline and heart to be excellent. New York City. Late fall leading to snow and cold weather makes me happy. AAP: How could you describe your style? SP: A little romantic but not sentimental - sci-fi but not overtly conceptual. I always work to make beautiful images and objects that don’t apologize for their consideration of aesthetic and design. My experience has taught me there is a strange, small line between beautiful and pretty, arbitrary and yet often substantial. I think my favorite word or aim for my work is earnest, and hopefully elegant. I try to be consistent and to quote someone I deeply respect, Paul Rand – "Don’t try to be original, just try to be good." AAP: What kind of gear do you use? Camera, lens, digital, film? SP: I’m fluent in digital tools and use them to manage images online etcetera, but I have used the same camera gear for over twelve years. Hasselblad 501CM with a 120mm lens and 25A Red filter. Tri-X film in A12 backs. Processed in D76, 1 to 1. Silver gelatin prints bleached and then toned in combinations of sepia and selenium or platinum–palladium prints from enlarged negatives. AAP: Do you spend a lot of time editing your images? SP: I tend to run film and then not look at it for a while.... I then go through the contact sheets and make work prints of the things that seem to have promise. As the series and work evolves the process of editing, sequencing and design kicks in. After the edges of a project are more or less in place, I’ll go back again and see what I may have missed on the contact sheets. AAP: Favorite(s) photographer(s)? SP: If I am only allowed one, Irving Penn – hands down, no one else. I love books and too many favorites to list, but in no particular order others would be Saul Leiter, Ted Croner, Robert & Shana Parke-Harrison, Tom Baril, Louis Faurer, Edward Burtynsky, Albert Watson, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Berenice Abbott and Matt Mahurin. AAP: What advice would you give a young photographer? SP: Fearlessly make all the bad pictures you need to in order to get to the good ones. Not thoughtlessly in the number of images, but without hesitation in the intent to chase your ideas. When you are disappointed, try to understand why specifically – was it a technical mistake your effort and experience will resolve over time or was it about vision in what you could or could not see at that moment. The technical things are usually easier to improve upon, I have found the other takes additional perseverance and courage. For myself there is always the confrontation of closing the distance between the potency I’m after and the many challenges at hand while guiding it there. I think the biggest secret is simply not to quit. AAP: What mistake should a young photographer avoid? SP: Everyone is different, so very hard to say. I believe one truth for myself has been it’s more valuable to invest time in what your pictures, your life, your point of view are all about and less energy worrying about the urgency sometimes encouraged in technology and shorter term concerns. Play long ball. AAP: An idea, a sentence, a project you would like to share? SP: I am currently administrating an ambitious project that connects college students with high school students, creating mentorship and the development of visual language. For the college students it is to illustrate the value of mentorship from both sides, as well as create meaningful dialogue about photography and image making. It provides a mechanism for high school students to share and express their photographic work with a new audience and has direct, tangible advantages for everyone involved – accenting the importance of communication and emphasizing the photography community's tradition of portfolio review. Visit The Picture Review. AAP: Your best memory has a photographer? SP: All of my favorite memories are darkroom related. My first darkroom was in John Christensen's studio, I deeply miss those days and that place. I would often print all day and all night - it's where I learned about photo-chemistry and the subtleties of split-toning and other irresistible alchemy. AAP: Your worst souvenir as a photographer? SP: My checking account. AAP: If you could have taken the photographs of someone else who would it be? SP: It's an interesting question but it reminds me of a rock & roll story, urban legend I remember as a kid and recently retold in Esquire Magazine. When Van Halen was touring in the late 70’s they were opening for Ted Nugent who admired Eddie Van Halen's guitar tone. Among other things, Eddie would hide one of his effect pedals (a tape echo) in an old bomb casing, adding to the mystery of his great tone and why he sounded the way he did. Everyone believed he had a "magic" black box. During sound check, Ted Nugent got the chance to play through Eddie’s rig and was disappointed to discover his guitar tone was unchanged – he sounded like he always did and whatever he loved about Eddie's tone was in his hands and not in the gear. I think photographs are like that, there are many pictures I would be thrilled if I had produced but in the end I can only make what is in my hands and heart. The images I love that others have made don't represent my life and could never belong to me. I remain a fan and audience to my heroes, happily so.
Karen Knorr
United States
1954
Karen Knorr was born in Frankfurt am Main, Germany and was raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico in the 1960s. She finished her education in Paris and London. Karen has taught, exhibited and lectured internationally, including at Tate Britain, Tate Modern, The University of Westminster, Goldsmiths, Harvard and The Art Institute of Chicago. She studied at the University of Westminster in the mid-1970s, exhibiting photography that addressed debates in cultural studies and film theory concerning the ‘politics of representation’ practices which emerged during the late 1970s qnd early 1980s. She is currently Professor of Photography at the University for the Creative Arts in Farnham, Surrey. Karen Knorr produced Belgravia (1979-1981) a series of black and white photographs with ironic and humorous texts that highlighted aspirations, lifestyle and the British class system under the neo liberalist Thatcher era in the late 70’s and early 80’s. Her most well known work called Gentlemen (1981-1983) was photographed in Saint James’s clubs in London and investigated the patriarchal conservative values of Britain during the Falklands war. Karen ’s work developed a critical and playful dialogue with documentary photography using different visual and textual strategies to explore her chosen subject matter that ranges from the family and lifestyle to the animal and its representation in the museum context. In 1986 her work Connoisseurs used colour to explore connoisseurship regarding authenticity, heritage and art in England. Here she introduced elements and staged events in the architectural interiors of Chiswick House, Osterley Park House and the Dulwich Picture Gallery. The use of text and captioning appeared as a device to slow down consumption of the image and to comment on the received ideas of fine art in museum culture. These strategies still appear in her photography today with digital collage of animals, objects and social actors in museums and architecture challenging the authority and power of heritage sites in Europe and more recently in India. Academies (1994- 2001), a series of colour photographs taken in academies and museums across Europe, reflects on the relationship between the production of western fine art, its transmission and consumption. The work continues a critical dialogue with conceptual art, visual culture, feminism and animal studies reflecting an engaged interest in theory and its relation to photographic practice. In 1995 the Academies project included video and installation with wall text transfers in order the explore the relationship between art and science in the staging of transgressive performative events and gestures in museums. Being for Another (1995), an 18 minute video records a young man caressing an 18th century sculpture by Canova in the Victoria and Albert Museum and three lifeclass models enact the lifeclass on the dissecting table of the anatomy theatre of Uppsala University in Lessons (2002). The introduction of a sound glass sculpture with recorded birdsong responded to the furniture and art collection of The Wallace Collection in 2001 synthesizing a 1960’s Pete Seeger song with an actual blackbird’s sound. In her series Fables (2004-2008) photographs mixes analogue and digital photography playfully reconfiguring tales (Ovid, Aesop La Fontaine) with popular culture (Disney and Attenborough) in museums and heritage sites which include Carnavalet Museum, the Museum of Hunt and Nature in Paris, Chambord Castle and the Conde Museum in Chantilly Castle. The visuality of these photographs is rich with reference to the baroque. In the last section of the work, Knorr interrogated the free flowing space of modern architecture in Corbusier’s Villa Savoye reintroducing life into the modernist aesthetic of a building. Since her life changing journey to Rajasthan, India in 2008, Karen Knorr’s work continues to explore Rajput and Mughal cultural heritage and its relationship to questions of feminine subjectivity and animality. India Song, a series of carefully crafted photographs explores the past and its relation to India’s contemporary heritage sites across Rajasthan. Since 2012 Knorr has been visiting Japan to reflect on tradition within contemporary Japan referencing Ukiyo-e prints and folktales connected to Shinto and Buddhist heritage sites.Her first series entitled Monagatari, places animals and humans in temple sites found in Nara, Kyoto, Tokyo and Ohara. Her second related series Karyukai is inspired by the Kano’s 36 portraits of poets also referencing “bijinga” prints of the 17th century. Women photographed by Karen Knorr were asked to compose waka and haiku reflecting on their life and dreams. Source: karenknorr.com About India Song Karen Knorr’s past work from the 1980’s onwards took as its theme the ideas of power that underlie cultural heritage, playfully challenging the underlying assumptions of fine art collections in academies and museums in Europe through photography and video. Since 2008 her work has taken a new turn and focused its gaze on the upper caste culture of the Rajput in India and its relationship to the "other" through the use of photography, video and performance. The photographic series considers men's space (mardana) and women's space (zanana) in Mughal and Rajput palace architecture, havelis and mausoleums through large format digital photography. Karen Knorr celebrates the rich visual culture, the foundation myths and stories of northern India, focusing on Rajasthan and using sacred and secular sites to consider caste, femininity and its relationship to the animal world. Interiors are painstakingly photographed with a large format Sinar P3 analogue camera and scanned to very high resolution. Live animals are inserted into the architectural sites, fusing high resolution digital with analogue photography. Animals photographed in sanctuaries, zoos and cities inhabit palaces, mausoleums , temples and holy sites, interrogating Indian cultural heritage and rigid hierarchies. Cranes, zebus, langurs, tigers and elephants mutate from princely pets to avatars of past feminine historic characters, blurring boundaries between reality and illusion and reinventing the Panchatantra for the 21st century.
Esmeralda Ruiz
United States
Artist Statement: "My childhood was different then most. Growing up with nothing but artists was one thing, but having actually flat lined during a surgery after being diagnosed with a kidney infection changed my life forever. It wasn’t that it left me weak or prevented me from going outside and playing or even going to school with other children but the images that I saw when that moment occurred is what I strive to show in my work today. A wonderful world where the air was crisp and refreshing, with all of its flowers in bloom, my journey begins down a path with little yellow homes on each side. Beyond the path, a valley flowers appeared. On the right there were rocky mountains so enormous that clouds covered their midsection with their snow covered summits peering through. To my left the sound of the ocean was relentlessly crashing into a cliff. As I crossed my valley of flowers and ascended the cliff, I felt a cool yet, strong breeze off the ocean forcing me back. As I looked up into the vast skies above, I was overcome by the ever so omnipotent clouds with their glorious rays of sunlight beaming through. The feeling of leaping into the breeze and flying towards the light was more then overwhelming. Instead, I greeted it with a smile and made my way back to the valley. Relaxed, laying across its delicate wild flowers, my tranquil body curled up and fell into a deep sleep. Awaking to my mother at my bedside, disappointment overcame me with the realization that it was all just a dream. Weeks passed, the pain healed but my dream still reigned true. Numerous sketches and endless rants of my new world was all that was real. Having to transition from a world of such perfection to a life of obscurity seemed almost inconceivable. As such, a minor state of depression would set in as my life slowly began to drift back into its regular routine. During this time my only solace came from the amazing work found in books from various art movements and even my favorite childhood cartoons. However, as my healing process dragged on, much of what I know about color (and how I use it today) came from all the extra time spent in my parent’s studio. Watching them work and being surrounded by various mediums helped better understand art as a form of expression. This would inevitably forge my desire to show the world what I had experienced on that fateful day. As the years pass, my dream still lives within me. My thesis project has only driven my need to share my moment with the world in ways I never thought possible. After much soul searching and numerous critiques, I have come to the realization that my utopia isn’t just a dream; it is in the landscapes that have always surrounded me. Those three minutes had and will always have a tremendous impact on my life. If anything, I learned how fragile life is and to always appreciate the beautiful things in life. Photography has allowed me to show what stands out in my eyes by glorifying it in a photograph. It is the best way that I can communicate what I saw and what I felt at that particular moment. It is the bridge between my past and my present.Source: Esmeralda Ruiz Website
Justyna Neryng
Poland
1981
Born in Poland in 1981, Justyna Neryng spent much of her childhood playing with her father’s cameras and dark room while roaming the forests of Chelmsko on the Czech boarder. As an adult, a mother and an immigrant to Britain, her photography has flourished into a substantial body of portraiture. Perhaps the most evocative of her works are her exquisitely emotive self-portraits that seem to carry the dark spirit of the forest from her childhood as well as potently baring the scares of modern womanhood. They show vulnerability and intimate eroticism as well as a deep sense of isolation and alienation. It is these portraits that have been most published and exhibited in both in her polish homeland and in the UK. More recently Justyna has begun to collaborate with her daughter Nell, on a project called Childhood Lost. Justyna currently produces her works in her adopted home town of Brighton and Hove, where she lives with her daughter. Artist Statement: Childhood Lost is an autobiographical ,self portrait in a different body, ongoing project exploring the nature of portraiture and memory. As a single mother I have found myself exploring notions and representations of childhood. I see my daughter’s experiences of growing up in urban England conflicting with my own experiences of growing up in rural Poland.I must confess that my own childhood is not a source of many happy memories, perhaps the most resonant of which are the times I escaped to a world of fantasy played out in the forests surrounding my home village of Chelmsko. Watching my daughter grow up has in a sense held a mirror to my own memories of the past while experiencing her childhood dreams enacted through play, and story telling. I find myself in a strange place where I can experience my own memories as well as see my daughter’s childhood through my adult eyes. It is these notions I am seeking to explore with the Childhood Lost project. Interweaving childhood nostalgia with the stories and myths of my Polish childhood and those that I share with my essentially British daughter. The project is using these ideas to produce a series of portraits that evoke characters that populate this world we know as childhood. A court of characters from myth and dreams. The images are aesthetically inspired by portraiture from the Golden Age of Dutch painting. By drawing on paintings as inspiration I am hoping to give a timeless feel to the final images. Also key to the project is also the painstaking styling and prop building, which I am using to evoke these different persona played out by my daughter. I want to develop the series in to a substantial set of portraits of my daughter playing the characters of childhood, as well as producing more elaborate set pieces embracing a theatricality that would take the project to the next level. Subject to funding it would also be a dream of mine to be able to revisit the forests of my own childhood and produce work there. Justyna Neryng is a multi-award winning self-taught photographer born in Poland and now living and working in the United Kingdom. She spent much of her childhood playing with her father’s cameras and dark room while roaming the forests of her hometown. She specialises in portraits and nudes, her photography has flourished into a substantial body of portraiture. She is mainly known for her enchanting theatrical portraits of her daughter, a gallery of triumphal characters, captured on a neutral and undefined background, with their fantastic ‘uniforms’ and imperious look . These images are aesthetically inspired by portraiture from the Golden Age of Dutch painting. And her exquisitely emotive self-portraits that seem to carry the dark spirit of the forest from her childhood as well as potently baring the scars of modern womanhood. They show vulnerability and intimate eroticism as well as deep sense of isolation and alienation.Source: justynaneryng.com
Sirkka-Liisa Konttinen
Sirkka-Liisa Konttinen is a Finnish photographer who has worked in Britain since the 1960s. She was born in Myllykoski, municipality of Sippola (from 1975 part of the town of Anjalankoski, from 2009 part of the town of Kouvola), Finland in 1948. Konttinen became interested in photography at the age of 12 and was a member of a photography group in a nearby town. Intending to pursue photography as a career, she was apprenticed to a fashion photographer in Helsinki for a year. Konttinen studied photography in London in the 1960s, and cofounded the Amber Collective, which moved to the northeast of England in 1969. From 1969 Konttinen lived in Byker, and for seven years photographed and interviewed the residents of this area of terraced houses until her own house was demolished. She continued to work there for some time afterward. This resulted in the book Byker, which in David Alan Mellor's words "bore witness to her intimate embeddedness in the locality". In 1980 she became the first photographer since the Cultural Revolution to have her work exhibited by the British Council in China. Konttinen's next project was a study of girls attending dance schools in North Shields, their mothers, and the schools. The book Step by Step came from this. The book was an influence for the film Billy Elliot. Three years of photographing the beach between Seaham and Hartlepool resulted in the series Coal Coast. Konttinen later returned to Byker and photographed its new residents in colour.Source: Wikipedia Sirkka-Liisa Konttinen is a photographer and filmmaker, best known for her work documenting working-class life in North East England. She is also co-founder of the Amber Film and Photography Collective, based in Newcastle Upon Tyne and the Side Gallery, dedicated to socially engaged documentary photography. Her documentation of Byker, the close-knit community of Newcastle, led to national recognition as a key photographic and filmic account of the rich working-class culture on the eve of its destruction. In 2003-09 she returned to the Byker Wall Estate that came to replace the original community, with her Byker Revisited/Today I’m With You book and film. Konttinen’s other long-term projects include Step by Step/Keeping Time, Hoppings, Writing in the Sand, Letters to Katja and the Coal Coast/Song For Billy. In 2011 her photography was inscribed in the UNESCO UK Memory of the World Register. She has exhibited widely, with her works held in multiple collections including the Finnish Museum of Photography, Helsinki, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, The New York Public Library, Tate Modern, London, Victoria and Albert Museum, London and the AmberSide Collection Trust, Newcastle.Source: Artimage
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