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Kurt Markus
Kurt Markus

Kurt Markus

Country: United States
Birth: 1947

Kurt Markus, self-taught American photographer, was born in rural Montana. Markus is a nationally and internationally published photographer of "unique vision." He has won major awards for his editorial, advertising, and personal work. His photographs demonstrate “extraordinary vision and focus” and are critically renowned.

Markus’s personal work began with a focus on American West Cowboys, which is perhaps his most acclaimed subject to this day. "His timeless photographs explore the rugged yet romantic spirit of the cowboy... Markus reveals an era that is all but forgotten today. In his photography, Markus documents a life style of solitude and difficulty, yet to the viewers, a sense of romance; a hard life of plain food, plain surroundings, horses, and exposure to the elements, and yet a simple life free of inherent stress... [He is] a truly amazing photographer of the fashion and travel industry". Since then, he has lived various lives as a photographer, making his mark in landscape, figure study, celebrity, fashion, sports, travel, and more. "Whatever the theme, he is most known for his sense of realism and his decidedly direct and not the least bit artificial approach". Although most of his career has been devoted to photography, he has also created music videos and films.

In 1994, Kurt Markus was one of five photographers to participate in a special 25th anniversary edition of Rolling Stone presenting the living legends of rock-n-roll. In 1999, Markus won a Life Magazine Alfred Eisenstaedt Photography Award for his Rolling Stone "Sports Hall of Fame" shots of triathlete, Peter Kotland. In 2003, Markus filmed a music video and photographed the album art for Tori Amos's Scarlet's Walk. "Tori felt that Kurt's love for America went hand-in-hand with the theme." In 2006, Markus filmed Jewel's music video Goodbye Alice in Wonderland spontaneously, after a photo shoot at her Texas ranch. "The homegrown clip beautifully reflects both the song's organic, intimate sound and its powerfully autobiographical story." Markus shot the video entirely with a classic Super 8 camera.

The New Yorker praises Markus's photographs in the Staley-Wise exhibition America the Beautiful (March 6 - May 9, 2009). "If anyone steals the show, it’s Kurt Markus, whose six photographs (many of cowboys) are quietly, unfailingly artful".

In 2009, David Roberts published The Last of His Kind a biography about famous mountaineer Bradford Washburn. The biography features Markus's portrait of Bradford Washburn at age 93. Roberts says, "Kurt Markus's deft profile of Brad in 'Outside' remains the definitive assessment of Washburn as a master photographer." On July 2, 2009, Kurt Markus again set out with the classic Super 8 camera, this time with his son, Ian Markus, to create a documentary of John Mellencamp's 2009 summer tour and recording, called It's About You. While Kurt shot in 8mm, His son and assisting cameraman, Ian Markus, filmed digitally and captured sound.

In 2010, Kurt Markus wrote his screenplay Deep Six. It has gone on to win Los Angeles Cinema Awards' "Merit Award" and Los Angeles Movie Awards' "Honorable Mention." Kurt Markus lives in Kalispell, Montana with his wife Maria. His sons, Weston and Ian, have both assisted him on major shoots and are currently continuing along their own paths in film and photography. "Both of his sons are interested in the world of photography and are following in their father's footsteps."

Source: Wikipedia


In his book Buckaroo, Markus reflected on himself and his profession, saying this:

"I was not born to ranching. I was born a daydreamer, and I know of no slot for one of those on any ranch. At times I am saddened that I am not what I photograph. Always the observer, seldom the participant, what I am made of remains unanswered. My distance protects me, physically and emotionally; from getting as busted up as I ought to sometimes. Which is why you're not going to get the whole truth from me. I have entered into an unspoken, unwritten and generally inscrutable pact with the people I have photographed and lived among: if I promise not to tell all I know about them, they will do the same for me. In most cases, I have more to hide. My consolation is a simple-heartedness I would not exchange. The greenest cowboy alive has my respect, and I have no problem whatsoever photographing people who are possessed with the determination to do what I cannot. The awful truth is that I love all of cowboying, even when everything has gone wrong and it's not looking to get any better. Sometimes I especially like it that way."

 

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More Great Photographers To Discover

John Divola
United States
1949
John Divola is an American contemporary visual artist born in 1949 in Los Angeles, CA. He received a B.A. from California State University, Northridge in 1971 and later received an M.F.A. from the University of California, Los Angeles in 1974. He has held residencies at many institutions including the California Institute of the Arts. He has held the position of Professor in the art department at the University of California Riverside since 1988. His work has been featured in many solo exhibitions across the United States, Europe, Japan, and Australia. He participated in 1978, 1989, and 2000 Museum of Modern Art group exhibitions and in the 1981 Whitney Biennial. Divola received awards as Individual Artist Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts in 1973, 1976, 1979, 1990 and a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1986. He published four books: Continuity, Isolated Houses, Dogs Chasing My Car In The Desert, and Three Acts. In Zuma project, he has described being interested in the relationship between real artworks and representations of them, and the issues of the natural and the artificial. Divola said "I attempted ... to develop a practice in which there could be no distinction between the document and the original." In his series of photographs from 1977, he used deserted houses on Zuma Beach and covered their walls in graffiti. He photographed the ocean from the house's interior through windows and cracks. Divola states: "On initially arriving I would move through the house looking for areas or situations to photograph. If nothing seemed to interest me I would move things around or do some spray painting. The painting was done in much the same way that one might doodle on a piece of paper. At that point, I would return to the camera and explore whatever new potentials existed." These cyclical images skillfully juxtapose romantic skies and sunsets with a seaside structure that, frame by frame, deteriorates into ruin as it is vandalized by the artist and others who eventually set it on fire. Divola's works trace a schematic desire for escape, movement, and transcendence. "My acts, my painting, my photographing, my considering, are part of, not separate from, this process of evolution and change. These photographs are not so much about this process as they are remnants from it. My participation was not so much one of intellectual consideration as one of visceral involvement." Dogs Chasing My Car In The Desert are images of dogs in the desert captured in the midst of running wildly after the car. Emphasizing the grain of the image, these black and white photographs capture a haunting moment in which there is a duality between a sense of absence and presence. The behavior of the dogs suggests a lack of previous stimuli, and loneliness at the same time as an all-consuming reaction to the now, a presence. "It could be viewed as a visceral and kinetic dance. Here we have two vectors and velocities, that of a dog and that of a car and, seeing that a camera will never capture reality and that a dog will never catch a car, evidence of devotion to a hopeless enterprise". In the Dark Star series, dark circles have been painted on the walls of an abandoned house. Creation and destruction are held in a delicate equilibrium, the white rooms of the house, are tattered and derelict. The domestic ruins suggest social collapse, secret renditions of something darkly sinister illuminating our conflicted recent history, updating Zuma and Vandalism for our age of foreclosure. In the As Far As I Can Get project, he made photographs by pushing the self-timer button on his camera. An exposure is made in 10 seconds. John Divola currently lives and works in Riverside, CA. Divola works in photography, describing himself as exploring the landscape by looking for the edge between the abstract and the specific.Source: Wikipedia
Mark Mann
United States
1970
Mark Mann is a celebrity and advertising photographer. He was born in Glasgow, where he lived until he went to study in the prestigious photographic program at Manchester Polytechnic. Before long, the recent graduate was assisting innovative fashion photographers Nick Knight and Miles Aldridge, learning the ropes and building his own body of work. Three years later, Mark started shooting on his own, relocating to New York City. Mark’s editorial work has appeared in Esquire, Men’s Health, Vibe, Spin, Fortune, Billboard, Parade and Complex, among others. He has shot countless celebrities, including Robert Redford, Michael Douglas, Iggy Pop, Jack Black, the Black Eyed Peas, Jerry Seinfeld, Dave Chappelle, Rihanna, Queen Latifah, Simon Baker, Stevie Wonder, Bradley Cooper, Willie Nelson, Sean Connery, John Hamm and Jennifer Hudson. Mark has amassed a sizable advertising portfolio, as well. His clients run the gamut: Reebok, Adidas, Hennessy, Bombay Sapphire, Pepsi, Gillette, Vitamin Water, NHL, Zumba, Ford, Chrysler and Svedka to name a few. Mark has just completed a yearlong project for Esquire Magazine, The Life of Man. He shot 80 American men ages 1 through 80, to celebrate 80 years of Esquire Magazine. This project took Mark to the White House where he was honored to shoot the sitting president, as well as former President Clinton. He also shot numerous other notable people and celebrities all across the country.Source: www.markmannphoto.com Because so many of Mark Mann’s striking celebrity portraits are taken from just a few feet away, he’s often asked, “Why so close?” “I’m not exactly sure where that idea of getting so close to my subjects came from. The simple answer is that I don’t like to have to shout to talk to people so—over the years—I’ve moved closer and closer. If you’re more than a few feet from someone, the nuances of what you are saying can be lost. And I always try to have a conversation to help make a connection with everyone I am photographing.” He may start out four or five feet away from a subject but “bobs and weaves” or “creeps” (as he terms it) closer to three feet or so while chatting and shooting. “That means the camera can be just 24 inches from a person’s face, or smelling distance,” says Mann. He never uses a tripod because he’s always moving, changing his distance and angles. He also shoots close up because he enjoys shooting wide open, explaining that helps give a "dimension” to his images. “They have a shallow depth of field, but I like that they almost feel three-dimensional,” he says. “There’s another reason I like shooting close,” says Mann. “I just love faces. I love looking at them. I can inspect every detail, every angle of a face when I’m just a few feet from someone as I look through my lens. I could never get that close without the camera in front of me.”Source: PPA
Steven Stanley Manolakis
United States
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Steven Stanley Manolakis is an aerial photographer based in Sydney. His images of Australian landscapes photographed from above provide a unique view of what lies surrounding us. Since he began shooting in 2018, Steven has earned more than 50 international photography awards and has been published in numerous magazines, including All About Photo, Australian Photography, and The Eye of Photography. Most notably, he was selected as a finalist in the 2020 Australian Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year, awarded eight Honorable Mentions in The International Photography Awards, and has received two Best of Best distinctions in the Creative Communication Awards two years in a row. Steven's work is admired for his uncanny ability to draw out distinct geographical features while flying over vast natural landscapes, creating images with a strong compositional emphasis on subtlety, symmetry, meaning, and minimalism. Statement "As an aerial photographer, I hire out fixed-wing airplanes and helicopters to capture remote landscapes from above. I prefer working with a medium format camera from aircraft to ensure the highest possible image quality. This allows me to print and frame my artwork in large dimensions. The images I take have been described as fine art abstract paintings. Sometimes they can appear textured by brush strokes and coloured with paint. Not all artists are capable of creating art that transcends mediums, and I feel fortunate to have the ability to do so. My work is inspired by a beautiful girl I met and fell in love with. Although we are not together, she remains someone special to me, and my photos attempt to capture the feelings I have of her. As I fly above a vast landscape, I attempt to find and draw out distinct natural features—things that remind me of her beauty, personality, and the impact she's had on me." -- Steven Stanley Manolakis
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
František Drtikol
Czech Republic
1883 | † 1961
František Drtikol was a Czech photographer of international renown. He is especially known for his characteristically epic photographs, often nudes and portraits. In 1901, aged 18 and after an apprenticeship, Drtikol enrolled in the Teaching and Research Institute of Photography in Munich, a city that was a major center of Symbolism and Art Nouveau and which was influential on his career. From 1907 to 1910 he had his own studio, and until 1935 he operated an important portrait photo studio in Prague on the fourth floor of one of Prague's remarkable buildings, a Baroque corner house at 9 Vodičkova, now demolished. He was a contributor to the illustrated weekly Pestrý Týden. Jaroslav Rössler, an important avant-garde photographer, was one of his pupils. Drtikol made many portraits of very important people and nudes which show development from pictorialism and symbolism to modern composite pictures of the nude body with geometric decorations and thrown shadows, where it is possible to find a number of parallels with the avant-garde works of the period. These are reminiscent of Cubism, and at the same time his nudes suggest the kind of movement that was characteristic of the futurism aesthetic. He began using paper cut-outs in a period he called "photopurism". These photographs resembled silhouettes of the human form. Later he gave up photography and concentrated on painting. After the studio was sold Drtikol focused mainly on painting, Buddhist religious and philosophical systems. In the final stage of his photographic work Drtikol created compositions of little carved figures, with elongated shapes, symbolically expressing various themes from Buddhism. In the 1920s and 1930s, he received significant awards at international photo salons. Drtikol has published Le nus de Drtikol (1929) and Žena ve světle (Woman in the Light)Source: Wikipedia Frantisek Drtikol was a founder of Czech modernist photography and a seminal figure in Czech photography before the Second World War. Now recognized as a modern master, Drtikol produced a monumental body of work--from early Pictorialist and Art Nouveau portraits and landscapes to the influential nude studies of the 20s and 30s--that has permanently established his place in the history of photography. The son of a grocer in the Central Bohemian town of Príbram, Drtikol showed early promise in drawing and painting. Desiring to see his son enter a more practical profession, Drtikol's father arranged for an apprenticeship with a local photographer, Antonín Mattas. During the next three years, Drtikol learned the basics of copying, retouching, toning, and other photographic tasks, but could devote little time to his own photography. In 1901, at the age of 18, Drtikol completed his apprenticeship and left home to attend the Teaching and Research Institute of Photography in Munich. The two-year course of study at the Institute set the course for Drtikol's entire career as an artist. Fin-de-siècle Munich was a thriving German art capital and one of the major European centers of Symbolism and Art Nouveau. Aspects of both movements preoccupied Drtikol throughout his life. In 1907, after several years of travel and work for other photographers, Drtikol returned to Príbram to open his own photographic studio, which he moved to Prague in 1910. In those years, while making his living from custom portrait photography in the Art Nouveau style, he experimented with oil and gum printing and other Pictorialist techniques, producing lyrical landscapes and some of the earliest fine-art nudes produced in Bohemia. Eventually, the nude would become Drtikol's primary mode of photographic expression. In the 1920s he developed the unique style for which he is best known, using Cubist and Art Deco sculptural motifs, elements of Expressionist dance, and ingenious geometric patterns of shadow and light to create dynamic nudes in which the body, no longer serving an illustrative or metaphorical purpose, became a purely aesthetic and erotic motif. In 1935, Drtikol abandoned photography and devoted himself to painting and to the theosophical, Buddhist, and other philosophical studies that had informed much of his art.Source: The National Gallery of Art
Peter Bogaczewicz
Poland/Canada
1974
Peter Bogaczewicz is a Canadian photographer and an architect currently developing projects in the Middle East. He divides his time between the two disciplines, often blurring the line between them, and uses his photography as a commentary on the built environment and the human community, how both are changing at a time of rapid progress and growing global interconnectedness, and the impact this has on the natural environment. There is no clearer reflection of a society's aspirations than through its collective "footprint" on nature; it is in the relationship of the constructed world to the natural world that a crucially revealing conversation takes place. Examining this dialogue captures Peter's imagination and appears as a common thread throughout his work, inviting the questions: How do we relate to the places we inhabit? And what does it reveal about us? Peter has recently had his photographs of Saudi Arabia published as a monograph by Daylight books and is regularly receiving recognition for his work. Kingdom of Sand and Cement Looking from the outside, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia appears doubly inaccessible: a seemingly endless inhospitable landscape populated by a traditionalist culture distrustful of outsiders. But looking from the inside reveals a subtler view: the culture, as different as it is, struggles with its identity like other cultures do at a time of growing global interdependencies and pressures to progress. What distinguishes Saudi Arabia in its struggle is that this country has had very little time to adapt. Though its abundance of oil wealth has given it an unprecedented advantage, at the same time, it ironically threatens its way of life. "Kingdom of Sand and Cement" explores the particular challenge Saudi Arabia is faced with as the country transitions from the tribal desert culture to an influential world power. It is a profound change, taking its population from mud buildings to the tallest of skyscrapers in less than a century. And while the whole country rapidly transforms from arid landscapes dotted with settlements, that seem to simply grow out of the ground, to imposing modern interventions, cutting, filling, and monumentalizing dominance over nature and the land, Saudi Arabia finds itself precariously balancing at a crossroads of old and new. The population adjusts, straddling both tradition and modernity, while its changing landscape readies it for more to come. The Series documents this relatively unfamiliar place at a time of its unique turning point. By photographically examining its past and present "markings" on nature—that crucial intersection of the built environment with that of the natural environment—the Series brings to light the country's aspirations tensely juxtaposed with its traditionalist past. The contrasts reveal an image of a place much different from our own, yet a place ultimately not so dissimilar to others in its ambition to progress, and susceptible as any to the risks of rapid and often careless transition. More about the book Kingdom of Sand and Cement
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