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Monica Testa
Monica Testa
Monica Testa

Monica Testa

Country: Italy
Birth: 1967

Shortly after my art studies, I started working as a fashion designer for a large company, which allowed me to deepen my knowledge and work in the world of graphics and style.

It was a challenging and rewarding job, thanks to which I had the opportunity to travel a lot around the world, meeting people from various ethnic backgrounds, enriching myself enormously from a cultural and personal point of view.

I had always been passionate about photography and to such an extent that I could no longer do without it. After taking several courses and studying the greatest photographers in history, I decided to enrol at the Italian Institute of Photography in Milan: a constructive experience that made me grow a lot, both on a technical and creative level.

I truly enjoy observing people and also studying their psychological side. That's why I especially love working on portraits and telling the stories of those I meet, always keeping a careful and respectful eye, tiptoeing into situations that I find interesting. I delve into them, I make them my own.

I use photography to express how I feel, how I see, how I perceive and absorb the flow of life around me. I transform my thoughts and my feelings into images, thus aiming to become a same part of the image I portray.

The River
Text from "Monica’s Diary (Benin 2019):"

Today we reached a small village flooded by the abundant rains of recent days. The tribe that lives there is accustomed to this situation and in effect they live in real palafittes suspended on the water; and so we reached the village in the only way possible ... by canoe.

We brought t-shirts for the children, eggs for snacks and, more importantly, mosquito nets which, given the area they live in, particularly humid and infested with mosquitoes, are essential.

The landscape was spectacular and my eyes saw incredible realities... all so far from our daily life! The school was small and very crowded, obviously they had been warned of our arrival and especially the children were waiting for us with trepidation.

Compared to other villages we had visited the previous days, the people who live here are quite aggressive. They were a little agitated, they all talked loudly, they pushed us constantly.

The adults looked at us with curiosity and the children with shyness: it was noticeable that they were not used to seeing people of a different color in their village.

For this we were escorted by the local police, in case the situation deteriorated. But everything went well and another day passed ... lived as if it were a whole life.

Face to Face
Form zero to one hundred

This is an ambitious project, started in 2017 and not yet finished.
The idea would be to photograph portraits of people of different ages, sex and ethnicity, who in some way fascinated me and consequently I asked them to pose for me.
I would like to get to a hundred photos, a different one for each age from zero to one hundred years.
 

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Gordon Parks
United States
1912 | † 2006
Gordon Roger Alexander Buchanan Parks (November 30, 1912 – March 7, 2006) was an American photographer, musician, writer and film director. He is best remembered for his photographic essays for Life magazine and as the director of the 1971 film, Shaft.At the age of twenty-five, Parks was struck by photographs of migrant workers in a magazine and bought his first camera, a Voigtländer Brillant, for $12.50 at a Seattle, Washington, pawnshop. The photography clerks who developed Parks' first roll of film, applauded his work and prompted him to seek a fashion assignment at a women's clothing store in St. Paul, Minnesota, that was owned by Frank Murphy. Those photographs caught the eye of Marva Louis, the elegant wife of heavyweight boxing champion Joe Louis. She encouraged Parks to move to Chicago in 1940, where he began a portrait business and specialized in photographs of society women. Over the next few years, Parks moved from job to job, developing a freelance portrait and fashion photographer sideline. He began to chronicle the city's South Side black ghetto and, in 1941, an exhibition of those photographs won Parks a photography fellowship with the Farm Security Administration (FSA). Working as a trainee under Roy Stryker, Parks created one of his best-known photographs, American Gothic, Washington, D.C.,[5] named after the iconic Grant Wood painting, American Gothic. The photograph shows a black woman, Ella Watson, who worked on the cleaning crew of the FSA building, standing stiffly in front of an American flag hanging on the wall, a broom in one hand and a mop in the background. Parks had been inspired to create the image after encountering racism repeatedly in restaurants and shops in the segregated capitol city.Upon viewing the photograph, Stryker said that it was an indictment of America, and that it could get all of his photographers fired. He urged Parks to keep working with Watson, however, which led to a series of photographs of her daily life. Parks said later that his first image was overdone and not subtle; other commentators have argued that it drew strength from its polemical nature and its duality of victim and survivor, and so has affected far more people than his subsequent pictures of Mrs. Watson.After the FSA disbanded, Parks remained in Washington, D.C. as a correspondent with the Office of War Information. Finally, disgusted with the prejudice he encountered, however, he resigned in 1944. Moving to Harlem, Parks became a freelance fashion photographer for Vogue. He later followed Stryker to the Standard Oil Photography Project in New Jersey, which assigned photographers to take pictures of small towns and industrial centers. The most striking work by Parks during that period included, Dinner Time at Mr. Hercules Brown's Home, Somerville, Maine (1944); Grease Plant Worker, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (1946); Car Loaded with Furniture on Highway (1945); and Ferry Commuters, Staten Island, N.Y. (1946). Parks renewed his search for photography jobs in the fashion world. Despite racist attitudes of the day, the Vogue editor, Alexander Liberman, hired him to shoot a collection of evening gowns. Parks photographed fashion for Vogue for the next few years and he developed the distinctive style of photographing his models in motion rather than poised. During this time, he published his first two books, Flash Photography (1947) and Camera Portraits: Techniques and Principles of Documentary Portraiture (1948).A 1948 photographic essay on a young Harlem gang leader won Parks a staff job as a photographer and writer with Life magazine. For twenty years, Parks produced photographs on subjects including fashion, sports, Broadway, poverty, and racial segregation, as well as portraits of Malcolm X, Stokely Carmichael, Muhammad Ali, and Barbra Streisand. He became "one of the most provocative and celebrated photojournalists in the United States."Personal life:Parks was born in Fort Scott, Kansas, the son of Sarah (née Ross) and Jackson Parks. He was the last child born to them. His father was a farmer who grew corn, beets, turnips, potatoes, collard greens, and tomatoes. They also had a few ducks, chickens, and hogs. He attended a segregated elementary school. The town was too small to afford a separate high school that would facilitate segregation of the secondary school, but blacks were not allowed to play sports or attend school social activities,[17] and they were discouraged from developing any aspirations for higher education. Parks related in a documentary on his life that his teacher told him that his desire to go to college would be a waste of money. When Parks was eleven years old, three white boys threw him into the Marmaton River, knowing he couldn't swim. He had the presence of mind to duck underwater so they wouldn't see him make it to land. His mother died when he was fourteen. He spent his last night at the family home sleeping beside his mother's coffin, seeking not only solace, but a way to face his own fear of death. At this time, he left home, being sent to live with other relatives. That situation ended with Parks being turned out onto the street to fend for himself. In 1929, he briefly worked in a gentlemen's club, the Minnesota Club. There he not only observed the trappings of success, but was able to read many books from the club library.[20] When the Wall Street Crash of 1929 brought an end to the club, he jumped a train to Chicago, where he managed to land a job in a flophouse.Parks was married and divorced three times. Parks married Sally Alvis in Minneapolis during 1933 and they divorced in 1961. He married Elizabeth Campbell in 1962 and they divorced in 1973. Parks first met Genevieve Young in 1962 when he began writing The Learning Tree. At that time, his publisher assigned her to be his editor. They became romantically involved at a time when they both were divorcing previous mates, and married in 1973. They divorced in 1979. For many years, Parks was romantically involved with Gloria Vanderbilt, the railroad heiress and designer. Their relationship evolved into a deep friendship that endured throughout his lifetime.Parks fathered four children: Gordon, Jr., David, Leslie, and Toni (Parks-Parsons). His oldest son Gordon Parks, Jr., whose talents resembled his father, was killed in a plane crash in 1979 in Kenya, where he had gone to direct a film. Parks has five grandchildren: Alain, Gordon III, Sarah, Campbell, and Satchel. Malcolm X honored Parks when he asked him to be the godfather of his daughter, Qubilah Shabazz. Gordon Parks received more than twenty honorary doctorates in his lifetime.He died of cancer at the age of 93 while living in Manhattan, and is buried in his hometown of Fort Scott, Kansas.(Source: en.wikipedia.org)
R.J. Kern
United States
1978
Sally Mann
United States
1951
Sally Mann was born in Lexington, Virginia in 1951. She has always remained close to her roots. She has photographed in the American South since the 1970s, producing series on portraiture, architecture, landscape and still life. She is perhaps best known for her intimate portraits of her family, her young children and her husband, and for her evocative and resonant landscape work in the American South. Her work has attracted controversy at times, but it has always been influential, and since her the time of her first solo exhibition, at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington D.C., in 1977, she has attracted a wide audience. Sally Mann explored various genres as she was maturing in the 1970s: she produced landscapes and architectural photography, and she blended still life with elements of portraiture. But she truly found her metier with her second publication, a study of girlhood entitled At Twelve: Portraits of Young Women (1988). Between 1984 and 1994, she worked on the series, Immediate Family (1992), which focuses on her three children, who were then all aged under ten. While the series touches on ordinary moments in their daily lives—playing, sleeping, eating—it also speaks to larger themes such as death and cultural perceptions of sexuality. In her most recent series, Proud Flesh, taken over a six year interval, Mann turns the camera onto her husband, Larry. The resultant photographs are candid and frank portraits of a man at his most vulnerable moments. Mann has produced two major series of landscapes: Deep South (Bullfinch Press, 2005) and Mother Land. In What Remains (Bullfinch Press, 2003), she assembled a five-part study of mortality, one which ranges from pictures of the decomposing body of her beloved greyhound, to the site where an armed fugitive committed suicide on her property in the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia. She has often experimented with color photography, but she has remained most interested in black and white, especially photography's antique technology. She has long used an 8x10 bellows camera, and has explored platinum and bromoil printing processes. In the mid 1990s she began using the wet plate collodion process to produce pictures which almost seem like hybrids of photography, painting, and sculpture. Sally Mann lives and works in Lexington, Virginia. A Guggenheim fellow, and a three-times recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, Mann was named "America's Best Photographer" by Time magazine in 2001. She has been the subject of two documentaries: Blood Ties (1994), which was nominated for an Academy Award, and What Remains (2007) which premiered at Sundance and was nominated for an Emmy for Best Documentary in 2008. She has been the subject of major exhibitions at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia, and the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. Her photographs can be found in many public and private collections, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art; the Museum of Modern Art; and the Whitney Museum of American Art.(Source: www.gagosian.com)
Alex MacLean
United States
Pilot and photographer, Alex MacLean, has flown his plane over much of the United States documenting the landscape. Trained as an architect, he has portrayed the history and evolution of the land from vast agricultural patterns to city grids, recording changes brought about by human intervention and natural processes. His powerful and descriptive images provide clues to understanding the relationship between the natural and constructed environments. MacLean’s photographs have been exhibited widely in the United States, Canada, Europe, and Asia, and are found in private, public and university collections. He has won numerous awards, including the 2009 CORINE International Book Award, the American Academy of Rome’s Prix de Rome in Landscape Architecture for 2003-2004, and grants from foundations such as the National Endowment for the Arts and the Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting in 2014. MacLean is the author of eleven books including, Up on the Roof: New York's Hidden Skyline Spaces (2012), Las Vegas | Venice (2010), Chroniques Aeriennes: L'art d'Alex MacLean (2010), Alex MacLean: Given a Free Hand (2010), OVER: The American Landscape at the Tipping Point (2008), Visualizing Density (2007), The Playbook (2006), Designs on the Land: Exploring America from the Air (2003), Taking Measures Across the American Landscape (1996), Look at the Land; Aerial Reflections of America (1993) and Above and Beyond; Visualizing Change in Small Towns and Rural Areas (2002). MacLean maintains a studio and lives in Lincoln, Massachusetts. Sea Level Rise On the shoreline of the Atlantic coast from Maine to Florida, rising salt water will impact over 100 million people. As a result, our nation will spend unimagined fortunes to adjust both gradual and abrupt disruptions of rising ocean waters. Sea level rise occurs when warmer temperatures associated with climate warming melt land ice and thermally expand the volume of seawater. Although sea level is now rising in fractions of inches, the impact will accelerate, with mean sea level predicted to be 3 to 6 feet higher by the end of the century. Even though many people are skeptical of climate change, and certainly not engaged in actions to reduce emissions of heat-trapping gasses, there is no denying that sea level rise, enhanced by storms and storm surges, causes erosion, flooding, dislocations, and will result in catastrophic damage along our coastlines. This problem is a significant cost factor reflected in financial markets for hazard insurance and appraisal of real estate values. Sea level rise is a relentless, visible indicator of a warming climate, which cannot be ignored.
Lotta Lemetti
Finland
1995
Lotta Lemetti is a photographer with a unique vision that embraces the beauty of the simple and mundane. Her minimal aesthetic carries through the diverse work she loves to make and she's not afraid to use alternative processes, mixed media and graphic design in her image making. The native of Finland obtained her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography from the NewYork Film Academy, and was also the recipient of the highly prestigious Fulbright undergraduate award in 2015, one of only 3 Finnish winners that year and the only grantee in the field of arts. Her work has since been exhibited in galleries around the world, including New York, Los Angeles, Italy, and Finland. Lotta is constantly sought after by leading artists in her field, and has worked alongside many, including award-winning photographer and visual artist Amanda Rowan, named Chromatic Photographer of the Year 2018 for her achievements in color photography and Photo District News' The Curator Fine Art competition in Still Life in 2019, whose work has been exhibited in Photo LA, and Paris Photo as well as the Wall Street Gallery and the Leica Gallery in Los Angeles, and on display at the Palms with Damien Hirst, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Andy Warhol, and Takashi Murakami, and Photographer/Visual Artist Naomi White, winner of Photo District News' Objects of Desire award and has exhibited throughout North America and Europe, including with Tobey Fine Arts, Christopher Henry Gallery and the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council in New York. In 2018, Lemetti's latest photography series Kekta won the title of Latitude Life APS Photographer of the Year. Kekta was then exhibited in New York and the city of Pravisdomini, Italy. Ms. Lemetti's work has been featured in FAYN Magazine, U+I Magazine, NewBeauty Magazine, PhotoVogue and FLOAT Magazine. Kekta is an exploration of cultural blending and national identity. These photographs originate from her own experience of living between two cultures. She created scenes that are inspired by the immemorial beliefs of unity between humans and nature, and cultural traditions that have been passed on for generations in the form of oral folk tales about Finnish mythology. The stories are hand picked from the Finnish national epic Kalevala, which is a book of poems collected from different regions of Finland and then stitched together into one cohesive story. I took these individual stories and photographed them in a variety of American landscapes, with people from different ethnic backgrounds, creating a new narrative of polycultural identity. Today, we live in a global age, which means that we must reconsider the old ways of thinking about national identity. People are no longer bound by the geographical borders of countries and only a few places on earth can be said to remain monocultural. Bigger metropolis cities are starting to resemble a ‘human mosaic' in which we are moving from multiculturalism, which emphasises the coexistence of different individual cultures to polyculturalism, which indicates the integratedness of the cultures.
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