All about photo.com: photo contests, photography exhibitions, galleries, photographers, books, schools and venues.
Frieke Janssens
Frieke Janssens
Frieke Janssens

Frieke Janssens

Country: Belgium
Birth: 1980

Over the past 25 years, Frieke Janssens has acquired a reputation as a photographer of surreal staged tableaux and group portraits, often originating in a specific concept, and almost always stemming from an inexhaustible interest in human diversity.

Her series often stand out because of their confrontational nature. Notable series include, among others, Smoking Kids, Your last shot, Diana's, Animalcoholics, and recently Lightness. In the same way that an oil painter builds up a work layer by layer, she too meticulously creates each image, down to the smallest detail. In every picture we can recognise the same artistic touch, the same technical perfection, combined with a playful duality between reality and fiction. At first glance, her images attract the viewer because of their pared-down beauty. Yet once one really starts to look in earnest, one realises that there are always multiple layers of meaning. It seems as if the people portrayed are trying to tell us something. However, they are silent, and consequently have to rely on the viewers to create the story for themselves. Frieke does not adopt any particular position, but aims to convey the feeling that one is not only looking at a photograph, but at a mirror as well. As such, she leaves the viewers free in their interpretation, yet never leaves them indifferent.

She sometimes lends her pared-down style to clients with whom she has a good connection, like a cultural centre, or a campaign, or a newspaper or magazine. In recent years, Frieke Janssens has exhibited in New York, Chicago, London, Hull, Bilbao and obviously also in her own country, including in Antwerp and Knokke-Heist. Her work has appeared in The Guardian, The Atlantic, Huffington Post, Knack, De Morgen, De Tijd and NRC, among others. Her book The Sweetest Taboo won gold at the 2019 Henry Van De Velde awards. In 2022, her third book Lightness was published on the occasion of the eponymous exhibition in Foto Knokke-Heist.
 

Selected Books

Inspiring Portfolios

Call for Entries
AAP Magazine #40 Portrait
Publish your work in AAP Magazine and win $1,000 Cash Prizes
 
Stay up-to-date  with call for entries, deadlines and other news about exhibitions, galleries, publications, & special events.

More Great Photographers To Discover

James Nachtwey
United States
1948
James Nachtwey is an American photojournalist and war photographer. He grew up in Massachusetts and graduated from Dartmouth College, where he studied Art History and Political Science (1966–70). Nachtwey started working as a newspaper photographer in 1976 at the Albuquerque Journal. In 1980, he moved to New York and began working as a freelance photographer. In 1981, Nachtwey covered his first overseas assignment in Northern Ireland illustrating civil strife. He has documented a variety of armed conflicts and social issues, spending time in South Africa, Latin America, the Middle East, Russia, Eastern Europe, the former Soviet Union shooting pictures of war, conflict and famine, and images of socio-political issues (pollution, crime and punishment) in Western Europe and the United States. He currently lives in New York City. In 1994, Nachtwey was covering the upcoming elections in South Africa, the first non-racial ones in decades. As an associate of the Bang-Bang Club, he was at the scene when Ken Oosterbroek was killed and Greg Marinovich was seriously injured. Nachtwey had been injured previously in his work, but it was during his extensive coverage of the United States invasion of Iraq that he received his first combat injury. As Nachtwey, along with Time correspondent Michael Weisskopf rode in the back of a Humvee with the United States Army "Tomb Raiders" Survey Platoon, an insurgent threw a grenade into the vehicle. Weisskopf grabbed the grenade to throw it out of the humvee, but it exploded in his hand. Two soldiers were injured in the explosion, along with the Time journalists. Nachtwey managed to take several photographs of medic Billie Grimes treating Weisskopf before passing out. Both journalists were airlifted to Germany and later to hospitals in the United States. Nachtwey recovered sufficiently to return overseas to cover the tsunami in Southeast Asia of December 26, 2004. Nachtwey has worked with Time as a contract photographer since 1984. He worked for Black Star from 1980 until 1985 and was a member of Magnum Photos from 1986 until 2001. In 2001, he was a founding member of the VII Photo Agency (he disassociated from VII in August 2011). Nachtwey was present during the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center, and produced a well known related body of work. He also compiled a photo essay on the effects of the Sudan conflict on civilians. In February 2011, Nachtwey contributed to a controversial piece for Vogue Magazine, which shone a favorable light on Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad and his family. The article and the photo series were particularly controversial as a peaceful protest movement in the context of the Arab Spring that was gathering steam at the same time, was brutally put down by the Syrian regime's military and secret police services. By December 2011, death toll estimates of the uprising ranged between 3,500 and 5,000, while an approximate 30,000 civilians were imprisoned and, in many cases, tortured severely. Vogue later decided to remove the article from its pages. Nevertheless, the article can still be accessed on the Syrian presidency's own website. Source: Wikipedia James Nachtwey grew up in Massachusetts and graduated from Dartmouth College, where he studied Art History and Political Science (1966-70). Images from the Vietnam War and the American Civil Rights movement had a powerful effect on him and were instrumental in his decision to become a photographer. He has worked aboard ships in the Merchant Marine, and while teaching himself photography, he was an apprentice news film editor and a truck driver. In 1976 he started work as a newspaper photographer in New Mexico, and in 1980, he moved to New York to begin a career as a freelance magazine photographer. His first foreign assignment was to cover civil strife in Northern Ireland in 1981 during the IRA hunger strike. Since then, Nachtwey has devoted himself to documenting wars, conflicts and critical social issues. He has worked on extensive photographic essays in El Salvador, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Lebanon, the West Bank and Gaza, Israel, Indonesia, Thailand, India, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, the Philippines, South Korea, Somalia, Sudan, Rwanda, South Africa, Russia, Bosnia, Chechnya, Kosovo, Romania, Brazil and the United States. Nachtwey has been a contract photographer with Time Magazine since 1984. He was associated with Black Star from 1980 - 1985 and was a member of Magnum from 1986 until 2001. In 2001, he became one of the founding members of the photo agency, VII. He has had solo exhibitions at the International Center of Photography in New York, the Bibliotheque nationale de France in Paris, the Palazzo Esposizione in Rome, the Museum of Photographic Arts in San Diego, Culturgest in Lisbon, El Circulo de Bellas Artes in Madrid, Fahey/Klein Gallery in Los Angeles, the Massachusetts College of Art in Boston, the Canon Gallery and the Nieuwe Kerk in Amsterdam, the Carolinum in Prague,and the Hasselblad Center in Sweden, among others. He has received numerous honours such as the Common Wealth Award, Martin Luther King Award, Dr. Jean Mayer Global Citizenship Award, Henry Luce Award, Robert Capa Gold Medal (five times), the World Press Photo Award (twice), Magazine Photographer of the Year (seven times), the International Center of Photography Infinity Award (three times), the Leica Award (twice), the Bayeaux Award for War Correspondents (twice), the Alfred Eisenstaedt Award, the Canon Photo essayist Award and the W. Eugene Smith Memorial Grant in Humanistic Photography. He is a fellow of the Royal Photographic Society and has an Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts from the Massachusetts College of Arts. Source: www.jamesnachtwey.com
Thomas Hoepker
Germany
1936
Thomas Hoepker is a German photographer and member of Magnum Photos. He is known for stylish color photo features. He also documented the 9/11 World Trade Center destruction. Hoepker originally made a name for himself in the 1960s as a photojournalist with a desire to photograph human conditions. Hoepker was born in Munich, Germany. He first began taking pictures when he was 16 and received an old 9x12 glass plate camera from his grandfather. He developed his prints in his family's kitchen and bathroom, and began to earn a little money by selling pictures to friends and classmates. Hoepker studied art history and archaeology from 1956 to 1959 at Göttingen, in Munich, Germany, where he was taught about understanding images and composition. While in school he continued to photograph and sell images to help finance his education. From 1960 to 1963 he worked as a photographer for Münchner Illustrierte and Kristall, reporting from around the world. Then in 1964 he began working as a photojournalist for Stern. In the 1970s he also worked as a cameraman for German TV, making documentary films. In 1976 he and his wife, journalist Eva Windmoeller, relocated to New York City as correspondents for Stern. From 1978 to 1981 he was director of photography for American Geo. From 1987 to 1989 Hoepker was based in Hamburg, working as art director for Stern. Magnum Photos first began distributing Hoepker's photographs in 1964. He became a full member in 1989. He served as Magnum President from 2003 to 2006. For much of his career Hoepker used Leica cameras. In the 1970s he began to also use single-lens reflex cameras alongside his Leica, using Leicas for wide angle shots and Nikon or Canon cameras with zoom lenses. In 2002 he began using digital SLRs. Today, Hoepker lives in New York City with his second wife Christine Kruchen, with whom he produces TV documentaries.Source: Wikipedia
Jiri Sneider
Czech Republic
1979
Jiří Šneider was born in 1979 and bred in Český Krumlov where my home is. Photography started to fascinate me around the year 1997. I have always been attracted by black & white photography, hence this constitutes of two thirds of my work. I've focused on portrait and travellers documentary. Recently I have developed more thanks to travelling (Ukraine, Bangladesh, Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh, Japan...). These destinations brought up many topics and situations of people at home, at work, going out, in streets, at religious rituals... Hard Workers The Gulf of Bengal, with a population of more than 156 million, keeps its economy running on hard human labour every day. Across the age, gender... older children take care of young children and infants, while parents earn money for daily survival, medical care, housing and other daily necessities. In such working conditions where the human body is exposed to dust, polluted water, fumes from machines and cars for a long time. So that families do not have to waste time commuting to work, they live in simple shelters around the shipyard, the port, or directly in the areas where bricks are made and baked, in villages where they also manually model clay bowls and bake them in primitive kilns. Even whole families work on a landfill, where they sort and recycle garbage for sale to make a living. Brave young people travel west to work in Arab countries near the Persian Gulf to make many times more money in services, auxiliary work and gastronomy, which they regularly send to their families in Bangladesh. The Hard workers project introduces you to black and white photographs of workers who work hard every day for a very small wage. For a journalist photographer and documentary filmmaker, this country is rough but full of many friendly people.
Billy & Hells
Billy and Hells are two photographers: Anke Linz, Billy (Nürnberg, 1965) and Andreas Oettinger, Hells (Munich, 1963). They met in 1986, found a shared interest in photography and became partners in life and work. Inspired by the photographs of Irving Penn and Helmut Newton, Billy und Hells started to work in the field of fashion photography. Accidentally, they came across a technique that would define their future works. By forgetting to take a black and white negative out of a Wühltisch developer, they developed a beautiful Baryt picture. This process is now known as a Lithprint. Later on they discovered that combining a black and white slidefrom a colour negative with a colour picture, a beautiful photograph emerged with fantastic effects. Because of this technique, the colours are reduced but give an intense effect. This technique reduces the colours but results simultaneously in an intensity, which they were unable to reach with regular photography. The results were unexpected but very satisfying. In 1999 they started working professionally for adverting campaigns and magazines. However, this branch of photography did not provide them for the artistic freedom they were looking for. In 2000 they settled in Berlin and started a studio there. This is also the year that they started to work with digital cameras, taking advantage of all the benefits these provide. Amongst others they exhibited in Tokyo and Berlin. One of their photographs, Nabil, was used in a fashion exhibition on the Ideal Man in the Gemeentemuseum in The Hague. Another work, Sophia, featured in the National Portrait Gallery’s advertisement campaign for the exhibition of the Photographic Portrait Prize 2007. Source: Morren Galleries Billy & Hells’ photographs exist in a world of in-betweens. Their deceptively simple, straightforward portraits convey a certain complexity. The archetypal characters depicted in their photographs—mothers, soldiers, cowboys, nurses, and teachers— possess an underlying sense of mystery, hinting at the duality of the sitter as well as the fictional world they inhabit. Although Billy & Hells’ images call upon historical and art historical references, their portraits are not burdened by the stipulations of historical recreations. Instead, seamlessly blending past and present, reality and fantasy, their photographs become a nostalgic diary, purposefully left open for interpretation. The duo discovered what has become their signature visual style via a typical lab-accident story— by forgetting to take a black and white negative out of the developer, they inadvertently produced an intense image with colors that appear simultaneously rich and muted. Their portraits combine elaborate, hand-painted backgrounds and draw inspiration from countless samples of fabrics, color compositions, and clothing that generate the distinct mood for each portrait. In a special issue on Young German Photography, Deutsch magazine described the experience of viewing a Billy & Hells photograph as the following, “Inevitably, without warning, you enter a unique world of images. Each scene becomes a kind of pseudo-dwelling for the person contemplating it. The situations seem to be familiar, but you are never absolutely sure just what is happening in front of you, who the characters are, where to place the individual scenes. The commonplace is bristling with exceptions, the direction of narrative changes continually and leads you astray. Trivial things are combined with the bizarre. The mixture deriving from this casts a spell on us.” (Deutsch, “Young German Photography”, 2000 Published by Kruse Verlag, Hamburg) Billy & Hells were nominated in 2007 for The National Portrait Gallery’s Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait. The series Blue Moon was recently featured in the photographic quarterly Eyemazing. Their work has been exhibited and collected internationally. Anke Linz and Andreas Oettinger live and work in Berlin.Source: Fahey/Klein Gallery
Aljohara Jeje
European
1962
Aljohara Jeje can be described as a distinguished and versatile artist with a rich background in product design, art photography, and medieval artistry techniques. She demonstrates a dedication to lifelong learning through her diverse educational pursuits, including courses in Art History, Comparative Religions, and Ethics. Aljohara's passion for the arts is evident in her continuous exploration and mastery of various artistic disciplines. Aljohara’s practice delves into the exploration of societal and cultural dynamics, drawing inspiration from historical contexts and contemporary shifts. Her work is deeply rooted in storytelling, using visual narratives to convey intricate layers of meaning, engaging deeply with history, culture, and contemporary challenges, inviting viewers to reflect on the complexities of the human experience. Her artistic voice is unique, stemming from her keen observations of her surroundings. She has the ability to translate these observations into art, making her a versatile artist. With sensitivity and a critical eye, her art practice is a multidimensional exploration of societal issues, using a variety of visual techniques and mediums to convey her messages. Aljohara’s name and award-winning works are increasingly well-known and commissioned in and outside the region due to her wide range of expertly crafted fine art. Notable accolades such as recognition from the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Culture, her 'Allard Photography Prize for International Integrity' and shortlisting by prestigious institutions like The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, are fine examples. Beyond her artistic achievements, Aljohara is actively engaged in enriching cultural discourse, through workshops, talks, publications, and participating in international forums, demonstrating her steadfast dedication to fostering communication through the arts. AAP Magazine AAP Magazine 38 Women
Cristina García Rodero
Cristina García Rodero (born 14 October 1949) is a Spanish photographer and member of Magnum Photos and Agence Vu photo agencies. García Rodero was born in Puertollano, Spain, in 1949, and studied painting at Complutense University of Madrid. She has worked as a teacher. Rodero photographs the persistence of rural traditions in modern times, such as religious rites and festivals in Spain. In Spain she is among the most celebrated documentary photographers. García Rodero joined Magnum Photos in 2005 and became a full member in 2009. The city of Puertollano, where she was born, inaugurated the Cristina García Rodero Museum in 2018. A large part of the photographer's work is exhibited there. The Cristina García Rodero Museum is located in the old municipal museum of Puertollano. There are more than 2,100 square meters distributed over three floors in which are displayed about 200 photographs of the artist.Source: Wikipedia Cristina García Rodero was born in Puertollano, Spain. She studied painting at the School of Fine Arts at the University of Madrid, before taking up photography. She then qualified as a teacher and worked full-time in education. For the next 16 years, she also dedicated her time to researching and photographing popular and traditional festivities – religious and pagan – principally in Spain but also across Mediterranean Europe. This project culminated in her book España Oculta published in 1989, which won the “Book of the Year Award” at the Arles Festival of Photography. The same year, García Rodero also won the prestigious W. Eugene Smith Foundation Prize. The documentary and ethnological value of her work are considerable, but the aesthetic quality of her photography makes it more than a simple visual record. In recent years, Cristina García Rodero has traveled around the world in search of other cultures with particular traditions. Over a period of four years, she went several times to Haiti, where she has documented voodoo rituals, producing a series of expressive portraits and moving scenes flanked by engaging documentary observations. Rituals in Haiti was shown for the first time in the 2001 Venice Biennale. Cristina García Rodero has received many prizes, including the Premio Nacional de Fotografía in 1996 in Spain. Her work has been widely published and exhibited internationally. She has published several books and has been a member of the Vu agency for more than 15 years. García Rodero joined Magnum in 2005 and became a full member in 2009.Source: Magnum Photos
Advertisement
AAP Magazine #40: Portrait
Win a Solo Exhibition in June
AAP Magazine #40: Portrait

Latest Interviews

Barbara Cole and Wet Collodion Photographs
Cole is best known for her underwater photography, but her other studio practice during the cold months in Toronto is an ongoing series of wet collodion photographs. This heavily analog process from the 19th Century is a years-long endeavor of revitalization and experimentation, offering modern day viewers an understanding of what it took to develop photographs in the early days of its invention. Cole has added her own unique take on the process by adding a layer of color in contrast to the usual sepia tones associated with the genre. The resulting wet plate photographs are tactile and dimensional dances between light and shadow, past and present, depicting women in timeless dreamscapes. We asked her a few questions about this specific project
Exclusive Interview with Michael Joseph
I discovered Michael Joseph's work in 2016, thanks to Ann Jastrab. I was immediately captivated by the power of his beautiful black and white photographs from his series 'Lost and Found.' His haunting portraits of young Travelers have stayed with me ever since.
Exclusive Interview with Debe Arlook
Debe Arlook is an award-winning American artist working in photography. Through color and diverse photographic processes, Arlook’s conceptual work is a response to her surroundings and the larger environment, as she attempts to understand the inner and outer worlds of human relationships. Degrees in filmmaking and psychology inform these views.
Orchestrating Light: Seth Dickerman Talks About his Passion for Photographic Printmaking
Seth Dickerman is a master manipulator of the wide spectrum of light densities that reflect off the surface of a photographic print and enter into our field of vision. His singular intent in making prints is to bring out the best an image has to offer, which means giving an image the ability to hold our attention, to engage us, and to allow us to discover something about an image that is meaningful and significant.
Exclusive Interview with Michel Haddi
Photographer and film director, Michel Haddi has photographed many high-profile celebrities while living in the USA including, Clint Eastwood, Martin Scorsese, David Bowie, Uma Thurman, Francis Ford Coppola, Cameron Diaz, Faye Dunaway, Nicholas Cage, Johnny Depp, Heath Ledger, Angelina Jolie, Janet Jackson, Jennifer Lopez, and many others. He also manages a publishing house, MHS publishing, which publishes his own books. Currently based in London we have asked him a few questions about his life and work
Exclusive Interview with Sebastien Sardi
In 2008, Swedish photographer Sebastian Sardi, inspired by an article exposing hidden mining-related incidents, embarked on a photography journey. Without formal training, he explored mines and ventured to India's Jharkhand state to document coal miners in Dhanbad, known as the "coal capital." His project, "Black Diamond," captured the lives of people, including men, women, and children, dedicated to coal extraction in grueling conditions.
Exclusive Interview with Debra Achen
Monterey-based photographer Debra Achen was born and raised near Pittsburgh, PA, where she developed a passion for both nature and art. She studied a variety of studio arts, including drawing, painting, and printmaking in addition to her training in traditional film and darkroom photography. Her project 'Folding and Mending' won the September 2022 Solo Exhibition. We asked here a few questions about her life and work.
Exclusive Interview with Steve Hoffman
Steve Hoffman is a documentary photographer who has who spent the last dozen years working with and photographing the people that live the housing projects in Coney Island. He was the winner of the July and August 2022 Solo Exhibition. We asked him a few questions about his life and work.
Exclusive Interview with Aya Okawa
Aya is passionate about exploring the natural world and protecting ecosystems and wild landsAll about Photo: Tell us about your first introduction to photography. What drew you into this world? Her project The Systems That Shape Us'won the February 2022 Solo Exhibition. We asked her a few questions about her life and her work.
Call for Entries
AAP Magazine #40 Portrait
Publish your work in AAP Magazine and win $1,000 Cash Prizes