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Mona Kuhn
Mona Kuhn by Mona Kuhn
Mona Kuhn
Mona Kuhn

Mona Kuhn

Country: Brazil
Birth: 1969

Acclaimed for her contemporary depictions, Kuhn is considered a leading artist in the world of figurative discourse. Throughout a career spanning more than twenty years, the underlying theme of her work is her reflection on humanity's longing for spiritual connection and solidarity. As she solidified her photographic style, Kuhn created a notable approach to the nude by developing friendships with her subjects, and employing a range of playful visual strategies that use natural light and minimalist settings to evoke a sublime sense of comfort between the human figure and its environment. Her work is natural, restful, and a reinterpretation of the nude in the canon of contemporary art.

For the past two decades, the Los-Angeles based artist's works have been shown steadily, revealing an astonishing consistency in technique, of subject and of purpose. In 2001, Kuhn's photographs were first seen by an influential audience during the exhibition at Charles Cowles Gallery in Chelsea, New York. Kuhn's distinct aesthetic has propelled her as one of the most collectible contemporary art photographers-her work is in private and public collections worldwide and she is represented by galleries across the United States, Europe and Asia.

Kuhn was born in São Paulo, Brazil, in 1969, of German descent. In 1989, Kuhn moved to the US and earned her BA from The Ohio State University, before furthering her studies at the San Francisco Art Institute. She is currently an independent scholar at The Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles. Occasionally, Mona teaches at UCLA and the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena.

Mona Kuhn's first monograph, Photographs, was debuted by Steidl in 2004; followed by Evidence (2007), Native (2010), Bordeaux Series (2011), Private (2014), and She Disappeared into Complete Silence (2018/19). In addition, Kuhn's monograph titled Bushes and Succulents has been published by Stanley/Barker Editions, with a debut at Jeu de Paume in Paris, in 2019. A stunning career retrospective of Mona Kuhn's Works has been published by Thames & Hudson, Spring 2021. Kuhn's forthcoming publication Kings Road, will be published and released by Steid this Spring 2022.

Mona Kuhn's work is in private and public collections worldwide, including The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, The Hammer Museum, Perez Art Museum Miami, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and the Kiyosato Museum in Japan. Kuhn's work has been exhibited at The Louvre Museum and Le Bal in Paris; The Whitechapel Gallery and Royal Academy of Arts in London; Musée de l'Elysée in Switzerland; Leopold Museum in Vienna Austria, The Polygon Gallery in Vancouver Canada, Taipei Fine Arts Museum in Taiwan and Australian Centre for Photography. Mona Kuhn lives and works in Los Angeles.



I'm most comfortable representing the nude as minimal and timeless. I like to cherish the body as a source of inspiration, as a platform for metaphors, for intimacy and complexities of human nature. It is my way of investigating the deepest questions about life.

-- Mona Kuhn



Articles

Selected Works at Galeri XII Paris
Paradise Lost at Jackson Fine Art
Works at Galeri XII Los Angeles
Between Modernism and Surrealism at Edwynn Houk Gallery
 

Mona Kuhn's Video

Selected Books

Inspiring Portfolios

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More Great Photographers To Discover

Guy Bourdin
France
1928 | † 1991
Guy Bourdin (1928-1991) was born in Paris. A painter his entire life and a self-taught photographer, he was working for magazines, such as Vogue as well as for brands such as Chanel, Ungaro and Charles Jourdan. He exhibited his first photographies at Galerie 29 in 1952. Nowadays his work has been exhibited in the most prestigious museums, such as The Victoria & Albert Museum, The Jeu de Paume, The National Art Museum of China, The Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography and The Moscow House of Photography. His oeuvres is part of the collection of many prestigious institutions such as the MoMA in New York, The Getty Museum in Los Angeles, SFMOMA in San Francisco and the collection of the V&A among others. Guy Bourdin's career spanned more than forty years during which time he worked for the world's leading fashion houses and magazines. With the eye of a painter, Guy Bourdin created images that contained fascinating stories, compositions, both in B&W and in colors. He was among the 1st to create images with narratives, telling stories and shows that the image is more important than the product which is displayed. Using fashion photography as his medium, he sent out his message, one that was difficult to decode, exploring the realms between the absurd and the sublime. Famed for his suggestive narratives and surreal aesthetics, he radically broke conventions of commercial photography with a relentless perfectionism and sharp humor. Guy Bourdin used the format of the double spread magazine page in the most inventive way. He tailored his compositions to the constraints of the printed page both conceptually and graphically, and the mirror motif so central in his work finds its formal counterpart in the doubleness of the magazine spread. Layout and design become powerful metaphors for the photographic medium, engaging the eye and with it, the mind. While on the one hand employing formal elements of composition, Guy Bourdin, on the other hand, sought to transcend the reality of the photographic medium with surreal twists to the apparent subject of his images and his unconventional manipulation of the picture plane. Given total creative freedom and with uncompromising artistic ethic, Guy Bourdin captured the imagination of a whole generation at the late 1970s, recognised as the highest note in his career. Guy Bourdin was an image maker, a perfectionist. He knew how to grab the attention of the viewer and left nothing to chance. He created impeccable sets, or when not shooting in his studio rue des Ecouffes in le Marais, in undistinguished bedrooms, on the beach, in nature, or in urban landscapes. The unusual dramas that unfold in these seemingly everyday scenes and ordinary encounters pique our subconscious and invite our imagination. Moreover, he developed a technic using hyper real colours, meticulous compositions of cropped elements such as low skies with high grounds and the interplay of light and shadows as well as the unique make-up of the models. Guy Bourdin irreverently swept away all the standards of beauty, conventional morals and product portrayals in one fell swoop. Around the female body he constructed visual disruptions, the outrageous, the hair-raising, the indiscreet, the ugly, the doomed, the fragmentary and the absent, torsos and death - all the tension and the entire gamut of what lies beyond the aesthetic and the moral,« explains the exhibition's curator Ingo Taubhorn. Bourdin investigates in minute detail the variables of fashion photography, from brash posing to subtle performances and from complex settings to novel and disturbing notions of images. Guy Bourdin was among the first to imagine fashion photographies that contained fascinating narratives, dramatic effects with intense color saturation, hyper-realism and cropped compositions while he established the idea that the product is secondary to the image. A fan of Alfred Hitchcock's 'Macguffin' technique - an inanimate object catalyzing the plot - the photographer constructed 'crime scenes', getting rid of all usual standards of beauty and morals while his images demanded cerebral responses. When such photographers as David Bailey, in the 1960s, produced fantasy images of the girl-next-door, Guy Bourdin captured the atmosphere of the 1970s with sharp humor, erotism and outrageous femininity. Collaborating with Issey Miyake, Chanel or Emmanuel Ungaro, it was his work for the shoe label, Charles Jourdan, that brought him the attention of a wider public. With the campaign, Guy Bourdin dared to barely show the product and turned the shoe into a trivial element of a theatrical mise-en-scène that enhanced sex and bad taste. Guy Bourdin's imagery not only changed the course of fashion photography but influenced a host of contemporary artists, photographers and filmmakers. It is without question, that Guy Bourdin's work for Vogue and his highly acclaimed print advertising for Charles Jourdan in the 1970s are now being seen in the appropriate context of contemporary art.
Hsuan Chung
Taiwan
1985
Hsuan Chung is a passionate photographer who started his interest in photography when he was seventeen. During his college years in Taiwan, he taught himself all the skills and techniques of photography and became a professional newspaper journalist before graduation. He wasn't satisfied with his works and wanted improvement. That is when he decided to relocate to Atlanta to work on his M.F.A degree in Photography at Savannah College of Art and Design. During his time working on his degree, he participates in many events and works hard to promote his photography works. With less than a year from graduation, he plans to participate in fundraisers, exhibitions, and other artwork presentation platforms in order to show his works to the public and spread his messages. Edge Since ancient times, human beings have continuously given life to the land and civilization. We constantly create stories and memories in each land which has its own temperature and culture. Everything on the land experiences a cycle of weathering, squeezing, and accumulating, then they disintegrate, and reconstruct to irregular solids. The project is based on my thoughts about the boundary between sea and land. The gravel in the soil is cracked by hitting each other under the lap of the waves, thus forming a new state. The minerals and gravel are brought back to the sea by the waves and become nutrients for microorganisms. The boundary between the sea and the land, that surges at all times but exists forever, is the birthplace of land and life. For me, that is also the end of human civilization. I used the square composition of a medium format camera to metaphorically refer to the concept of 'time' in nature that only humans have. I pressed the shutter after a series of precise calculations, and each square perfectly framed the time and scenery of the moment. In order to let the negative and the seawater fully interact, I soaked the negative in the seawater took from the shooting location. So that the salt and minerals in the seawater are able to remain on the negative. During the development, sea salt and minerals that stay on the negative produce chemical reactions with chemistry and silver halides. Human intervention and uncertain chemistry allow the whole process to create a memory journey between the earth and the sea, human beings and nature. The final images fulfill the purpose of recreating memories of different times and spaces and making them eternal. They not only record the memory of the ocean for 4500 million years but also witness the vitality of everything and the inseparable connection between human beings and the earth.
Sarah Moon
France
1941
A fashion and commercial photographer since 1968, and also a filmmaker, Sarah Moon is known for her dreamlike images and her representation of femininity as free from time and context, as living in a fairy world. Although Moon has been a major participant in the world of fashion for more than three decades, she has carefully carved out her own niche -- a signature style that dispenses with the erotically suggestive poses favored by many of her male counterparts in favor of the emblems of luxury and nostalgia. Mystery and sensuality are at the core of Moon's work, whether she's photographing haute couture, still life, or portraiture. In this book, Moon's first major retrospective, viewers will be treated to a visual tour-de-force, showing all the genres she has explored in her rich and diverse career. Source: Amazon Sarah Moon, previously known as Marielle Hadengue, is a French photographer. Initially a model, she turned to fashion photography in the 1970s. Since 1985, she has concentrated on gallery and film work. Hadengue was born in Vichy in 1941. Her Jewish family was forced to leave occupied France for England. As a teenager she studied drawing before working as a model in London and Paris (1960–1966) under the name Marielle Hadengue. She also became interested in photography, taking shots of her model colleagues. In 1970, she finally decided to spend all her time on photography rather than modeling, adopting Sarah Moon as her new name. She successfully captured the fashionable atmosphere of London after the "swinging sixties", working closely with Barbara Hulanicki, who had launched the popular clothes store Biba. In 1972, she shot the Pirelli calendar, the first woman to do so. After working for a long time with Cacharel, her reputation grew and she also received commissions from Chanel, Dior, Comme des Garçons and Vogue. In 1985, she moved into gallery and film work, even making a pop video. Source: Wikipedia Texture, surface, seeing, believing, dreaming. It is difficult to summarize Sarah Moon’s fantastical photography - almost thirty years of image-making has made Sarah Moon a legend in her own lifetime. Well known for her very personalized commercial work since the early 1970s, Sarah has continued to investigate a world of her own invention without repetition and also without compromise. Looking into Sarah Moon’s extraordinary photographs is comparable to looking through a two-way mirror. The mirror surface becomes the print and the viewer has the privilege of standing on the ’other-side’ looking through the image at the same time. The living creatures are rendered so ’still’ and conversely the inanimate objects, such as the dolls, become human and expressive with their own inimitable character, ultimately mirroring each other. There is an atmosphere and intensity which is constantly apparent that sets her work apart. It is also the range of subject matter, the banal, the incidental, and the secret that Sarah Moon allows us to see in a new and extraordinary light. The current trend in photography is towards a method that is more and more interventionist. Moon takes little pleasure in this kind of creation, but is involved in a personal search. The dream world is quintessential to her work; her images lead us into a world bewitched. When men appear, her pictures move towards a more disturbing surrealism and a dangerous mystery is inferred. These are photographs in which the bizarre and unusual confront ordinary reality. Source: Michael Hoppen Gallery
Platon (Antoniou)
United Kingdom
1968
Born in London in 1968, Platon was raised in the Greek Isles until his family returned to England in the 1970's. He attended St. Martin's School of Art and after receiving his BA with honors in Graphic Design, went on to receive an MA in Photography and Fine Art at the Royal College of Art. After working for British Vogue for several years, he was invited to NY to work for the late John Kennedy Jr. and his political magazine, 'George'. After shooting portraits for a range of international publications including Rolling Stone, the New York Times Magazine, Vanity Fair, Esquire, GQ and the Sunday Times Magazine, Platon developed a special relationship with Time magazine, producing over 20 covers. In 2007 Platon photographed Russian Premier Vladimir Putin for Time Magazine's Person Of The Year Cover. This image was awarded 1st prize at the World Press Photo Contest. In 2008 he signed a multi-year contract with the New Yorker. As the staff photographer, he has produced a series of large-scale photo essays, two of which won ASME Awards in 2009 and 2010. Platon's New Yorker portfolios have focused on many themes including President Obama's Inauguration, the U.S Military, portraits of world leaders and the Civil Rights Movement. The following year, Platon teamed up with the Human Rights Watch to help them celebrate those who fight for equality and justice in countries suppressed by political forces. These projects have highlighted human rights defenders from Burma as well as the leaders of the Egyptian revolution. Following his coverage of Burma, Platon photographed Aung San Suu Kyi for the cover of Time - days after her release from house arrest. In 2011, Platon was honored with a prestigious Peabody Award for a collaboration on the topic of Russia's Civil Society with The New Yorker Magazine and Human Rights Watch. Platon's first monograph 'Platon's Republic', was published in 2004 by Phaidon Press. To coincide with its publication, the work was exhibited internationally, in London at the ex-Saatchi Gallery as well as the Milk Gallery in New York. His second book, 'Power' - a collection of portraits of over 100 world leaders - was published in 2011 by Chronicle and following its success was selected by Apple to be released as an app. The book includes portraits of Barack Obama, Mahmoud Ahmedinejad, Dmitry Medvedev, Benjamin Netanyahu, Hugo Chavez, Mahmoud Abbas, Tony Blair, Robert Mugabe, Silvio Berlusconi, and Muammar Qaddafi. In recent years, public speaking has progressively played a major role in Platon's career as communicator and storyteller. He has been invited to be a keynote speaker at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Yale, the London School of Economics, the National Portrait Gallery in London and the International Center of Photography in NY. He has also appeared on a range of television media including Charlie Rose (PBS), Morning Joe (MSNBC), Fareed Zakaria's GPS (CNN) and the BBC World News. Between 2011-2013, Platon's work has been exhibited in galleries both domestically and abroad. He has exhibited in New York at the Matthew Marks Gallery and the Howard Greenberg Gallery, as well as internationally at the Colette Gallery in Paris, France. The New York Historical Society also exhibited a solo show of Platon's Civil Rights photographs, which remain as part of the museum's permanent collection. Other permanent collections holding Platon's photography include The Florida Museum of Photographic Arts in Tampa, Florida and The Westlicht Museum for Photography in Vienna, Austria. Platon's advertising credits include the United Nations Foundation, Credit Suisse Bank, Exxon Mobil, Diesel, the Wall Street Journal, Motorola, Nike, Converse, Verizon, Vittel, Levi's, IBM, Rolex, Ray-Ban, Tanqueray, Kenneth Cole, Issey Miyake, Moschino, Timex and Bertelsmann among others. Platon lives in New York with his wife, daughter and son. (Source: www.platonphoto.com)
John R. Pepper
John Randolph Pepper, (1958) is an Italian photographer, screenwriter, theatre and film director, the son of sculptress Beverly Pepper and journalist/writer Curtis Bill Pepper, editor of Newsweek and manager of its Rome office. He was born and raised in Rome; lives in Palermo and works worldwide. Pepper started his career in Black & White analogical photography with an apprenticeship to Ugo Mulas at 14. He published his first photograph at 15 and had his first show at 17. He studied History of Art at Princeton University, where he was also the youngest member of the exclusive painting program, '185 Nassau Street'. He then became a 'Directing Fellow' at The American Film Institute, (Los Angeles) and subsequently worked as a director in theatre and film for 20 years. For thirty years, he dedicated himself to photography while directing both theatre and film. During that time he continued to take photographs with his Leica camera always using the same Ilford HP5 film stock. John R. Pepper, represented by the Art of Foto Gallery (St. Petersburg, Russia) and The Empty Quarter Gallery (Dubai, UAE), is a 'Cultural Ambassador' of numerous Italian Institutes of Culture in may parts of the world. Since 2008 he has exhibited his different projects 'Rome: 1969 - An Homage to Italian Neo-Realist Cinema', 'Sans Papier', 'Evaporations' in the United States, France, Italy, the Middle East and Russia. He has published three books and is represented in several major museums around the world. Since 2015 Pepper has been working on his project 'Inhabited Deserts', where he explores deserts and their effect on time, history and people. 'Inhabited Deserts' debuted in Paris in November 2017; in September 2018, with the support of the Italian Embassy in Iran and the Italian Foreign Ministry, Pepper exhibited at the Aaran Projects Gallery in Tehran where he was one of the first Italian photographers since the Iranian Revolution of 1979. In November 2018, after participating at Paris Photo with the Galerie Sophie Scheidecker, 'Inhabited Deserts' went to Tel Aviv, Israel, representing Italy at the 6th International Photo Festival 'Photo Is:Rael'. From December 12th 2018 to February 15th Inhabited Deserts was presented at The Empty Quarter Gallery in Dubai, U.A.E. with curatorial text by Kirill Petrin. Subsequently the show opened on March 19, 2019 in Saint Petersburg, Russia, at the Art of Foto Gallery and shortly thereafter, on April 18th, it returned to Tel Aviv at the NOX Contemporary Gallery. In 2020 Inhabited Deserts will be seen in the United States and Italy. Per John Pepper "When talking about photography, we're talking about time. The image is fixed in time. We also talk about black and white and color, digital and film, reality and punctum - the critical concept of the French philosopher Roland Barthes, denoting the wounding, personally touching detail, which establishes a direct relationship with the object or person within it. Is a photographer an artist or not? The ones who feel they are, modestly define themselves as artisans. Still others, who do not think of themselves as photographers will snap photos relying on destiny's outcome. Finally, there are the ones who fantasize conceptual sequences snapped in extravagant situations - most of which without interest. About photography, much has been said. There are established masters, schools of thought, and many hopes. Yet whoever is sufficiently open to a vision within himself, who has cherished and assimilated the masters, will emerge with something new. Passion triumphs when backed by culture. When looking at one of John Pepper's photographs - the one with the group of people, friends and family, in front of their home, for example - I think of Paul Strand's image in his book, published with Zavattini 'Un paese' del 1955. There is a similar gathering of characters at the doorstep of their home. Time here is not just in the shutter time and lens aperture - a sixtieth of a second at eight - but in the transformation of the people, in the process of revealing themselves. With John, however, the appearances differ from those of Strand - moved up in time as evident in the shoes and pants, the motorcycle helmet, the technology of the wheelchair and the modern necklace of the young girl. They appear happy and to be speaking to the photographer. Despite some apparently expensive upper-class possessions, we perceive they are of a modest condition. In Strand's photograph, there is no doubt they are of peasant culture. Motionless, they stare at the photographer with a serious gaze, though ignorant of the world of images. Today, image is consumerism. It goes beyond diffidence. Everyone can have a camera, a motorcycle helmet and Nike shoes. People are well nurtured; they have even grown in height. With John the scene is of movement. The characters interact with ease, and the photographer is part of the game. He uses black and white film enhanced by the fine art of printing - images stemming from classical photography. John was just a boy when he came to my house in Milan, in piazza Castello, above the studio that once belonged to Ugo. I like to think that the darkroom at that time influenced him. Who knows? However, I do believe that Ugo's work helped him to become a photographer. His reportage in Italy is filtered through the memory of many great photographers - Diane Arbus, Cartier Bresson, Robert Frank, the first Richard Avedon, and William Klein to name a few. He has also traveled through Italy, in the streets and byways of youth, finding dramatic, enlightened faces in the theater of life. His portrait of the religious procession is most beautiful, with a perfect, compact, composition, among astonished angels and those bearing a religious float against a sharp background of light. John lives and works in Palermo, an outward antithesis of New York. An American born and raised in Italy, it is as an Italian that he grasps the vital spirit, the soul, and the humanity of people. His choice to live in a region like Sicily, so full of contradictions and archaic values, will surely help him in chronicling the history of change in our era. Then, apart from making art, he will have absorbed it as his own - a part of his life that will recur in defining time, space, and the evolution of the human condition." Antonia Mulas, Todi, May 5, 2012
Oliver Stegmann
Switzerland
1970
I was born in 1970 in Basel, Switzerland. Since my late teen years, photography has become a key medium for me to express myself. Professionally, however, I took a different path, studying economics and now working in a management position. I'm married and a father of two lovely daughters. On many trips to different continents, I have continuously worked on improving my skills as a photographer and on developing my own visual language. I participated in various workshops of well-known photographers such as Mary Ellen Mark, Anders Petersen or Ernesto Bazan. Until 2007 I photographed exclusively with black-and-white film and made all prints in my own darkroom. In 2005, I started scanning the negatives, editing them in Photoshop and creating fine art prints. Two years later, I started to use also digital cameras. My long-term project on circuses behind the scenes is planned to be published as a photo book in 2021. My other on-going personal project is to document the childhood years of my children. Statement I love music, but I have never played an instrument. So the camera has become the "instrument" for my creative work: I compose images instead of songs. I prefer black and white photography because leaving out the colors, the way we usually see the world, directs the viewer's eye to the essence of the image. I have always had a passion for observing people. Their emotions, facial expressions, interactions, activities and personal moments inspire me. Photographing people is a way to communicate with them, to capture perhaps just a fraction of their lives. A powerful photograph becomes a true gift of the moment when it manages to capture some sort of mystery or magic. My photos are meant to transport the viewer into a world less known to them, perhaps reminding them of experiences long past or leading them mentally into a possible future. With my photos I do not want to tell everything, but deliberately suggest unanswerable behind what is shown.
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