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John Simmons
John Simmons
John Simmons

John Simmons

Country: United States
Birth: 1950

John Simmons is a multi-talented artist whose work has spanned across decades. Born in Chicago and coming of age during the Civil Rights Era, Simmons' photography started at the peak of political and racial tension of the 1960s, mentored by a well known Chicago Civil Rights photographer, Bobby Sengstacke.

After completing an undergraduate degree from Fisk University in art and photography, Simmons went on to study cinematography at the University of Southern California, and then to move to LA, where he currently lives.

In 2004, Simmons was inducted into the American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) and now serves as Vice President and as co-chair of the ASC Vision Committee. He is also on the Board of Governors of the Television Academy, working to increase diversity on-set, and taught at UCLA for 26 years before leaving to focus on his photography.

Simmons has also filmed music videos and commercials for artists such as Stevie Wonder, Britney Spears, Snoop Dogg and many more. As a filmmaker, Simmons has collaborated with industry giants such as Spike Lee and Debbie Allen, and has served as the Director of Photography for more than 25 television series. Simmons earned an Emmy for his work on Nicky, Ricky, Dicky & Dawn.

Outside of the aforementioned exhibits, his photographs are also held at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, the Center for Creative Photography, the David C. Driskell Center, University of Maryland, and Harvard University, where they exhibited in "Time is Now: Photography and Social Change in James Baldwin's America" at the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts. His work is also in the permanent collection of the ASC.

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More Great Photographers To Discover

Steve McCurry
United States
1950
Steve McCurry has been one of the most iconic voices in contemporary photography for more than 30 years, with scores of magazine and book covers, over a dozen books, and countless exhibitions around the world to his name. Born in a suburb of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; McCurry studied film at Pennsylvania State University, before going on to work for a local newspaper. After several years of freelance work, McCurry made his first of what would become many trips to India. Traveling with little more than a bag of clothes and another of film, he made his way across the subcontinent, exploring the country with his camera. It was after several months of travel that he found himself crossing the border into Pakistan. There, he met a group of refugees from Afghanistan, who smuggled him across the border into their country, just as the Russian Invasion was closing the country to all western journalists. Emerging in traditional dress, with full beard and weather-worn features after weeks embedded with the Mujahedeen, McCurry brought the world the first images of the conflict in Afghanistan, putting a human face to the issue on every masthead. Since then, McCurry has gone on to create stunning images on all seven continents and countless countries. His work spans conflicts, vanishing cultures, ancient traditions and contemporary culture alike - yet always retains the human element that made his celebrated image of the Afghan Girl such a powerful image. McCurry has been recognized with some of the most prestigious awards in the industry, including the Robert Capa Gold Medal, National Press Photographers Award, and an unprecedented four first prize awards from the World Press Photo contest. The Minister of French Culture has also appointed McCurry a Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters and most recently, the Royal Photographic Society in London awarded McCurry the Centenary Medal for Lifetime Achievement. McCurry has published books including The Imperial Way (1985), Monsoon (1988), Portraits (1999 | 2013), South Southeast (2000), Sanctuary (2002), The Path to Buddha: A Tibetan Pilgrimage (2003), Steve McCurry (2005), Looking East (2006), In the Shadow of Mountains (2007), The Unguarded Moment, (2009), The Iconic Photographs (2011), Untold: The Stories Behind the Photographs (2013), From These Hands: A Journey Along the Coffee Trail (2015), India (2015), On Reading (2016), Afghanistan (2017), A Life in Pictures (2018), Animals (2019), In Search of Elsewhere: Unseen Images (2020). @stevemccurryofficial "What is important to my work is the individual picture. I photograph stories on assignment, and of course they have to be put together coherently. But what matters most is that each picture stands on its own, with its own place and feeling" -- Steve McCurry If the photographer's images have made the rounds of newspapers around the world, like the portrait of the young Afghan woman with piercing eyes, it is also due to their aesthetic impact. Steve McCurry spoke of the importance of colour in his photographs, the importance of post-production and retouching, and their ability to touch the viewer: "each single picture has its single story, and we put ours in it" (Steve McCurry). "Sometimes with pictures and photography, what is interesting is that the imagination can go off in different directions. Everything should not be explained" (Steve McCurry): the photographer stresses the importance of leaving their share of mystery to the photographs. Steve McCurry was confronted with the horror of war; his images bear witness to this. If Susan Sontag suggests in Regarding the Pain of Others that photography “beautifies” and “bleaches out a moral response to what is shown”, the photographer brings an entirely different perspective to the issue. He refers to the mission of war reporters to fight against the blindness and ineptitude of public opinion: "Should we be informed about what's happening in our world? Should we let our governments tell us ? I think that would be a very bad idea. [...] Somebody has to go and give us their impression. We need some person to go there and find the truth" (Steve McCurry).Source: www.sciencespo.fr
Francis Haar
Hungary
1908 | † 1997
Francis Haar born as Haár Ferenc was a Hungarian socio-photographer. He studied interior architecture at Hungarian Royal National School of Arts and Crafts between 1924 and 1927. His master was Gyula Kaesz.He started working as an interior architect and poster designer in 1928, and taught himself photography. In 1930 he became acquainted with Munka-kör (Work Circle) led by socialist avant-garde poet and visual artist Lajos Kassák, who just returned from Vienna. Kassák pointed out that the photography is more than the painting and can access to such part of reality that cannot be accessed by painters. Kassák's motto was photography is the real child of our age not the painting. That was a life long inspiration to Francis. He became an active and leading member of the Munka Kör, his partners in socio-photography were among others Sándor Gönci, Árpád Szélpál and Lajos Lengyel, who later became renowned graphic artist and book designer. The first socio photo exhibition ever in Hungary was held in 1932, which brought the first success to Francis. His first photo studio was opened in Budapest in 1934. Some of his photos were exhibited at the Paris Exposition Internationale des Arts et Techniques dans la Vie Moderne in 1937, so Francis Haar decided to move to Paris where he established himself as a portrait photographer. However in 1939 he was invited by Hiroshi Kawazoe to Japan and the International Cultural Society of Japan (Kokusai Bunka Shinkokai) officially arranged his trip. With help of Japanese friends he opened and operated his photo studio in Tokyo between 1940 and 42. The Haar family was evacuated to Karuizawa in 1943 and they spent 3 years there. He became the photographer of Yank, the Army Weekly magazine of the U.S. occupation forces in Japan, and subsequently filmmaker with U.S. Public Health and Welfare Section (1946-48). Again his Tokyo photo studio was opened in 1946 and was in active business until 1956. His wife Irene opened the famous restaurant Irene's Hungaria in Ginza, downtown Tokyo, which was frequented by celebrities, intellectuals, army men and sports people from all over the world besides the Japanese. Accepting a challenge he moved and worked as photographer for the Container Corporation of America, Chicago from 1956 until 1959. He returned to Tokyo and operated his photo studio again for a year. 1960 brought a great decision and the Haars moved to Hawai'i and Francis started his photo studio there. He taught photography at the University of Hawai'i between 1965 and 1985. He became the production photographer for the Kennedy Theater, the University of Hawai'i Drama Department. Francis Haar died at the age of 89 in Honolulu.Source: Wikipedia
Ernie Luppi
United States
1954
San Francisco native Ernie Luppi became involved with photography in 1973 when he started using his mother's Instamatic 126 camera that he and his brothers had given to her as a Christmas gift the previous year. During this time, Ernie was attending the City College of San Francisco and decided to switch his major to photography. The CCSF Photography Department offered one of the finest programs in the area and it helped Ernie unearth the creativity within him. To this day, Ernie is an avid black and white film and darkroom enthusiast. In 1975, Ernie graduated from CCSF with an Associate of Science degree in Photography and has spent the past 39 years in retail photography sales, first working at Adolph Gasser, Inc. for 23 years, followed by 16 years at Keeble and Shuchat in their respective film and darkroom supply departments. Ernie's photographic vision is varied. It ranges from travel, portraiture, street, and the urban landscape. Ernie has often quoted, “I am a jack of all trades and a master of none,” but really he is just curious about everything that he sees through his camera lens. An association with RayKo Photo Center was established in June of 1992 when Ernie had a solo exhibition of photographs, all of them gelatin silver prints, that he had taken during trips to Italy in 1981 and 1991. For the past decade, with the guidance of gallery director Ann Jastrab, Ernie has been a member of RayKo's Photographers Marketplace. Ernie's images have also been selected for RayKo exhibitions such as the documentary show "With Our Own Eyes", "The Perimeter of the World: Contemporary Travel Photography", as well as several Plastic Camera Show exhibits. He continues to photograph daily and can usually be found in his darkroom.
(Arthur Fellig) Weegee
Austria/United States
1899 | † 1968
Weegee was the pseudonym of Arthur Fellig (June 12, 1899 – December 26, 1968), a photographer and photojournalist, known for his stark black and white street photography. Weegee worked in the Lower East Side of New York City as a press photographer during the 1930s and '40s, and he developed his signature style by following the city's emergency services and documenting their activity. Much of his work depicted unflinchingly realistic scenes of urban life, crime, injury and death. Weegee published photographic books and also worked in cinema, initially making his own short films and later collaborating with film directors such as Jack Donohue and Stanley Kubrick. Weegee was born Ascher (Usher) Fellig in Z?oczów (now Zolochiv, Ukraine), near Lemberg, Austrian Galicia. His name was changed to Arthur when he emigrated with his family to live in New York in 1909. There he took numerous odd jobs, including working as an itinerant photographer and as an assistant to a commercial photographer. In 1924 he was hired as a dark-room technician by Acme Newspictures (later United Press International Photos). He left, however, in 1935 to become a freelance photographer. He worked at night and competed with the police to be first at the scene of a crime, selling his photographs to tabloids and photographic agencies. His photographs, centered around Manhattan police headquarters, were soon published by the Herald Tribune, World-Telegram, Daily News, New York Post, New York Journal American, Sun, and others.In 1957, after developing diabetes, he moved in with Wilma Wilcox, a Quaker social worker whom he had known since the 1940s, and who cared for him and then cared for his work. He traveled extensively in Europe until 1968, working for the Daily Mirror and on a variety of photography, film, lecture, and book projects. In 1968, Weegee died in New York on December 26, at the age of 69.Weegee can be seen as the American counterpart to Brassaï, who photographed Paris street scenes at night. Weegee’s themes of nudists, circus performers, freaks and street people were later taken up and developed by Diane Arbus in the early 1960s. In 1980 Weegee’s widow, Wilma Wilcox, Sidney Kaplan, Aaron Rose and Larry Silver formed The Weegee Portfolio Incorporated to create an exclusive collection of photographic prints made from Weegee’s original negatives. As a bequest, Wilma Wilcox donated the entire Weegee archive - 16,000 photographs and 7,000 negatives - to the International Center of Photography in New York. This 1993 gift became the source for several exhibitions and books include "Weegee's World" edited Miles Barth (1997) and "Unknown Weegee" edited by Cynthia Young (2006). The first and largest exhibition was the 329-image “Weegee’s World: Life, Death and the Human Drama,” brought forth in 1997. It was followed in 2002 by “Weegee’s Trick Photography,” a show of distorted or otherwise caricatured images, and four years later by “Unknown Weegee,” a survey that emphasized his more benign, post-tabloid photographs. In 2012 ICP opened another Weegee exhibition titled, "Murder is my Business". Also in 2012, exhibition called "Weegee: The Naked City", opened at Multimedia Art Museum, Moscow.Source: Wikipedia
Don McCullin
United Kingdom
1935
Don McCullin is one of our greatest living photographers. Few have enjoyed a career so long; none one of such variety and critical acclaim. For the past 50 years he has proved himself a photojournalist without equal, whether documenting the poverty of London's East End, or the horrors of wars in Africa, Asia or the Middle East. Simultaneously he has proved an adroit artist capable of beautifully arranged still lifes, soulful portraits and moving landscapes. Following an impoverished north London childhood blighted by Hitler's bombs and the early death of his father, McCullin was called up for National Service with the RAF. After postings to Egypt, Kenya and Cyprus he returned to London armed with a twin reflex Rolleicord camera and began photographing friends from a local gang named The Guv'nors. Persuaded to show them to the picture editor at the Observer in 1959, aged 23, he earned his first commission and began his long and distinguished career in photography more by accident than design. In 1961 he won the British Press Award for his essay on the construction of the Berlin Wall. His first taste of war came in Cyprus, 1964, where he covered the armed eruption of ethnic and nationalistic tension, winning a World Press Photo Award for his efforts. In 1993 he was the first photojournalist to be awarded a CBE. For the next two decades war became a mainstay of Don's journalism, initially for the Observer and, from 1966, for the Sunday Times. In the Congo, Biafra, Uganda, Chad, Vietnam, Cambodia, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Iran, Afghanistan, Northern Ireland and more, he time and again combined a mastery of light and composition with an unerring sense of where a story was headed, and a bravery that pushed luck to its outermost limits. He has been shot and badly wounded in Cambodia, imprisoned in Uganda, expelled from Vietnam and had a bounty on his head in Lebanon. What's more, he has braved bullets and bombs not only to get the perfect shot but to help dying soldiers and wounded civilians. Compassion is at the heart of all his photography. Away from war Don's work has often focused on the suffering of the poor and underprivileged and he has produced moving essays on the homeless of London's East End and the working classes of Britain's industrialised cities. From the early 1980s increasingly he focused his foreign adventures on more peaceful matters. He travelled extensively through Indonesia, India and Africa returning with powerful essays on places and people that, in some cases, had few if any previous encounters with the Western world. In 2010 he published Southern Frontiers, a dark and at-times menacing record of the Roman Empire's legacy in North Africa and the Middle East. At home he has spent three decades chronicling the English countryside - in particular the landscapes of Somerset - and creating meticulously constructed still lifes all to great acclaim. Yet he still feels the lure of war. As recently as October 2015 Don travelled to Kurdistan in northern Iraq to photograph the Kurds' three-way struggle with ISIS, Syria and Turkey.Source: donmccullin.com “Photography has given me a life… The very least I could do was try and articulate these stories with as much compassion and clarity as they deserve, with as loud a voice as I could muster. Anything less would be mercenary.” -- Don McCullin
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