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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.

 

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More Great Photographers To Discover

Keiichi Tahara
Japan
1951 | † 2017
Tahara was born in Kyoto. He learned photographic techniques at an early age from his grandfather, a professional photographer. In 1972, he travelled Europe with Red Buddha Theatre as a lighting and visual technician. While in France, he encountered a sharp, harsh and piercing light that he had never experienced in Japan. Since then, he remained in Paris for next 30 years and started his career as a photographer. His first series of work "Ville (City)" (1973-1976) captured the unique light in Paris in black-and-white photography. His next series of work "Fenêtre (Windows)" (1973-1980) awarded the best new photographer by Arles International Photography Festival in 1977 and he moved into the limelight.The following year, he started the new series "Portrait" (1978), then "Eclat" (1979-1983) and "Polaroid" (1984) and received number of awards such as Ihei Kimura award (1985). His morphological approach to light has extended to sculpture, installations, and other various method crossing over the genre of photography. In 1993, in moat of the Castle of Angers (1993), the first light sculpture in France, "Fighting the Dragon" (1993) was installed. "Garden of Light" (Eniwa, Hokkaido, 1989) is a representative piece in which light sculptures are installed in a public space covered in snow for six months of the year. The light changes in response to music and presents a space of poetic dimensions. Based on the same concept, "Échos du Lumières" (2000) was installed in the Canal Saint-Martin, commissioned as a public space project by the City of Paris. The spectacle colors from the prisms illuminate the stone wall synchronizing with the sounds. The rest of his work include a permanent outdoor installation "Niwa (Garden)" (2001) at the Photography Museum in Paris (Maison Européenne de la Photographie), "Portail de Lumière", an installation created as a part of the cultural project Lille 2004, and " Light Sculpture" exhibition at Tokyo Metropolitan Teien Art Museum in 2004. In 2008, Tahara lead the project of building Ginza 888, with the artistic direction of the Museum of Islamic Art. A photography book was published. He continued to produce a number of light installation projects in urban spaces. He died on 6 June 2017. Source: Wikipedia When did you realize you wanted to be a photographer? It was 1972 when I am 21 years old Where did you study photography? With whom? From my grand father Do you have a mentor or role model? Trace of light. Moholy-Nagy / Man-Ray How long have you been a photographer? 40 years Do you remember your first shot? What was it? Yes, when I was 6 years old took the picture of garden of our family house What or who inspires you? So many artists which I met in my life How could you describe your style? Trace of light. Do you have a favorite photograph or series? Serie de Eclat 1979-1983 Do you spend a lot of time editing your images? For what purpose? Light/Observation/Notation what mistake should a young photographer avoid? Do not afraid mistake, mistake make a art An idea, a sentence, a project you would like to share? 1970 What are your projects? 1970
Jonathan Banks
United Kingdom
1971
Jonathan Banks is an award-winning photographer with over 20 years' experience in commercial and media photography. Jonathan Banks studied under the prolific artist John Blakemore, and graduated from the University of Derby with a BA honours in Photographic Studies. He cut his teeth in editorial photography freelancing for The Daily Telegraph and various agencies. His work has appeared in international magazines and books. Jonathan has exhibited several bodies of work as a solo artist, as well as in conjunction with other photographers in the UK and abroad. These have ranged from – personal projects to editorial assignments and photographs supporting various charities. Jonathan has always worked with NGOs both in the U.K. and abroad. He is a British Red Cross volunteer and has exhibited work in support of International Alert. Jonathan currently works with a stable of blue chip clients, NGOs and architects providing a range of photographic and film services. Jonathan lives in Kent with his wife and two sons. Statement I have photographed in over 50 different countries, documenting subjects as diverse as mask dancing festivals in Burkina Faso, the effects of the Chernobyl disaster in the Ukraine and the aftermath of 9/11 in New York. My international experience includes working in security impaired areas, where my communication skills and sensitivity allow me to capture subjects in the most challenging situations. Combined with my creativity and technical knowhow, this enables me to deliver award-winning images. I am passionate about my work and embrace the challenges of collaborating with global corporations, magazines and NGOs alike. Every assignment is different, and, as such, is approached uniquely. I am always on the lookout for new creative partnerships.
František Drtikol
Czech Republic
1883 | † 1961
František Drtikol (3 March 1883, Příbram – 13 January 1961, Prague) 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, 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
Stephen Shore
United States
1947
Stephen Shore (born October 8, 1947) is an American photographer known for his images of banal scenes and objects in the United States, and for his pioneering use of color in art photography. His books include Uncommon Places (1982) and American Surfaces (1999), photographs that he took on cross-country road trips in the 1970s. In 1975 Shore received a Guggenheim Fellowship. In 1971, he was the first living photographer to be exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, where he had a solo show of black and white photographs. In 1976 he had a solo exhibition of color photographs at the Museum of Modern Art. In 2010 he received an Honorary Fellowship from the Royal Photographic Society. Shore was born as sole son of Jewish parents who ran a handbag company. He was interested in photography from an early age. Self-taught, he received a Kodak Junior darkroom set for his sixth birthday from a forward-thinking uncle. He began to use a 35 mm camera three years later and made his first color photographs. At ten he received a copy of Walker Evans's book, American Photographs, which influenced him greatly. His career began at fourteen, when he presented his photographs to Edward Steichen, then curator of photography at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York. Recognizing Shore's talent, Steichen bought three black and white photographs of New York City. At sixteen, Shore met Andy Warhol and began to frequent Warhol's studio, the Factory, photographing Warhol and the creative people that surrounded him. In 1971, he was the first living photographer to be exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, with a show of black and white, sequential images. Shore then embarked on a series of cross-country road trips, making "on the road" photographs of American and Canadian landscapes. In 1972, he made the journey from Manhattan to Amarillo, Texas, which provoked his interest in color photography. Viewing the streets and towns he passed through, he conceived the idea to photograph them in color, first using 35 mm hand-held camera and then a 4×5" view camera before finally settling on the 8×10 format. The change to a large format camera is believed to have happened because of a conversation with John Szarkowski. In 1974 a National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) grant funded further work, followed in 1975 by a Guggenheim Fellowship. Along with others, especially William Eggleston, Shore is recognized as one of the leading photographers who established color photography as an art form. His book Uncommon Places (1982) was influential for new color photographers of his own and later generations. Photographers who have acknowledged his influence on their work include Nan Goldin, Andreas Gursky, Martin Parr, Joel Sternfeld, and Thomas Struth. Stephen Shore photographed fashion stories for Another Magazine, Elle, Daily Telegraph and many others. Commissioned by Italian brand Bottega Veneta, he photographed socialite Lydia Hearst, filmmaker Liz Goldwyn and model Will Chalker for the brand's spring/summer 2006 advertisements. Shore has been the director of the photography department at Bard College since 1982. His American Surfaces series, a travel diary made between 1972 and 1973 with photographs of "friends he met, meals he ate, toilets he sat on", was not published until 1999, then again in 2005. In recent years, Shore has been working in Israel, the West Bank, and Ukraine.Source: Wikipedia Shore emerged in the 1970s as one of the major exponents of color photography, shooting bleak yet lyrical scenes of the North American landscape. Documenting everyday settings and objects, from hotel swimming pools and televisions to parking lots, gas stations, and deserted roads, Shore exhibited an ability to transform commonplace surroundings into compelling works of art, working with a subject matter similar to Walker Evans. Between 1973 and 1979, Shore made a series of road trips across North America, documenting the vernacular landscape through his view camera, and taking a more formal approach to photographing than in his earlier work. A number of these images later formed Shore's now-classic book, Uncommon Places (first published by Aperture in 1982 and republished in 2004 and 2007). These images arouse recollections of experiences, but in an artful, carefully crafted and calculated manner. His images are made with a large-format camera, which gives his photographs a precise quality in both color and form that has become a signature trait of his work. Shore's use of the large-format camera and innovative color printing has made him one of the most influential photographers to emerge in the last half of the twentieth century, credited with inspiring numerous contemporary photographers.Source: International Center of Photography
Yuyang Liu
China
1991
Yuyang Liu, b.1991, graduated from Department of History, East China Normal University. He is a freelancer photographer based in Guangzhou, China. When he was a high school student, he started to love taking photos and decided to be a photographer. His images focus on the change and connection of people in the changing society. He had won Magnum Foundation Human Rights & Photography Fellowship, Abigail Cohen Fellowship in Documentary Photography and Ian Parry Scholarship. His work was published on TIME, New York Times, the Guardian, NPR and BBC World Service. Awards Ian Parry Scholarship, 2015 Abigail Cohen Fellowship in Documentary Photography (Magnum Foundation/ChinaFile, 2015 National Geographic Photo Contest China, Honorable Mention, 2014 Magnum Foundation: The Human Rights & Photography Fellowship, 2014 ND Scholarship, 3rd Prize, 2014 2013 Shanghai Youth Art Exhibition, Shortlisted, 2013 5th Foundation of OFPiX Photo Agency, Shortlisted, 2012 Exhibitions & Events Magnum Foundation Human Rights & Photography Fellowship Program Forum: Inter Art Center and Gallery, Beijing, China, 2014 Home of Youth: High School No.7 Chengdu (multimedia):PhotoChina Original International Photographic Exhibition, Confucius’ Hall, Guiyang, China, 2014 Neither Here Nor There (multimedia): LOOKbetween 2014, Virginia, USA, 2014 Auspicious Things: Lishui International Photography Festival Hand-made Books Workshop, Pump Factory, Lishui, China, 2013 Auspicious Things: 2013 Shanghai Youth Art Exhibition, China Art Museum, Shanghai, China, 2013 About the project: At home with mental illness: In 2014 there were reportedly 16 million people in China living with severe mental illness. 80% of patients diagnosed did not receive sufficient or necessary treatment due to China’s flawed health care system. Most people who suffer from these illnesses are forced to live at home with their families or on their own. They are overlooked or often not recognized at all within society, they are invisible. So I decide to film these patients and families who have mental illness such as psychosis or dysgnosia. I’ve been to several towns and villages in Guangdong Province which is the richest region in southern China and filmed some mental illness at home. This project aims to explore the unique relationship between the mentally ill, their families, and society at large.
Niki Feijen
Netherlands
1977
Dutch photographer Niki Feijen immortilizes an astonishingly intact glimpse into the past. This autodidact specializes in documenting and capturing historic architecture and abandoned buildings. Each photo fuses together the conflicting notions of beauty and decay and corresponds with his desire to capture and silently communicate with his audience about the subject's very essence. Niki wants to recreate the exact same scene as he sees while standing in a location but the lightspectrum your eye can capture is much, much wider than a camera can capture. Photographing a dark setting with extreme highlights like a window causes the highlights to wash out into white or dark areas can become obscure black blobs. It's impossible to shoot a photo that captures both ends of this spectrum. Since Niki does not use any artificial lighting he uses different exposures to capture a much wider light spectrum than a traditional photograph. The result is a hyper realistic photo which would replicate the exact same thing you would see standing inside the location yourself. In 2010 Feijen visited the quintessential location of desertion: the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone. After a catastrophic nuclear accident occurred in 1986 the entire city of Pripyat, all 50,000 inhabitants, were evacuated within 48 hours. Most of the belongings of the evacuated inhabitants were left behind and never returned to again. The incredible deafening silence of this location, in its absence of the living, permeates the senses and mind of visitors who venture to there to this day. Feijen is currently travelling around the globe looking for more hidden gems tucked away behind 'Do Not Enter' signs. Curious about what lies on the other side, he goes in search of the hidden world that is often in plain sight. When Feijen comes across impressive yet eerie locations, such as homes located in ghost towns, asylums, decaying hospitals, abandoned castles and long forgotten hotels, he intends to preserve the what is left of the past by encapsulating these forgotten masterpieces' ethos in a photo before they crumble and collapse. The impressions left from these places are represented in visual form for the public in three separate books. All works, 'Disciple of Decay' (April 2013) 'Frozen' (September 2014) and 'Tempus Fugit' (December 2017), have been independently published. The first sold out in six months. On top of these publications, Feijen's photographs are exhibited at art galleries and international art fairs several times a year. His works have been featured by NBC, BBC, The Huffington Post, ABC News, The Daily Mail and Chase Jarvis, among a variety of others. As of 2014 Feijen's work is part of the Sir Elton John Photography Collection where his name is among legendary photographers as ; Edward Weston, David LaChapelle, Diane Arbus and Henri Cartier-Bresson.
Diana Cheren Nygren
United States
Diana Cheren Nygren is a fine art photographer from Boston, Massachusetts. Her work explores the visual character of place defined through physical environment and weather. Place has implications for our experience of the world, and reveals hints about the culture around it. Her photographs address serious social questions through a blend of documentary practice, invention, and humor. Diana was trained as an art historian with a focus on modern and contemporary art, and the relationship of artistic production to its socio-political context. Her emphasis on careful composition in her photographic work, as well as her subject matter, reflects this training. Her work as a photographer is the culmination of a life-long investment in the power of art and visual culture to shape and influence social change. Her project When the Trees are Gone has been featured in Dek Unu Mag, Square Magazine, Photonews, Domus Magazine online, Cities Magazine, and iLeGaLiT, and won Best In Show in the exhibition Nurture/Nature juried by photographer Laura McPhee, the Grand Prize in Photography from Art Saves Humanity, Discovery of the Year in the 2020 Tokyo International Foto Awards, 2nd place in Fine Art/Collage in the 2020 International Photo Awards, silver in Fine Art/Collage in the Budapest International Foto Awards, bronze in Fine Art/Digitally Enhanced in the 2020 Prix de la Photographie, was longlisted for the Hopper Prize and the BBA Photography Prize, and was a finalist for Fresh2020 and Urban2020 and a Merit Winner in the 2020 Rfotofolio Selections. The Persistence of Family
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