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Vassi Koutsaftis
Vassi Koutsaftis
Vassi Koutsaftis

Vassi Koutsaftis

Country: Greece
Birth: 1952

Vassi Koutsaftis has explored the globe for over 30 years, specializing in travel photography – of the extreme kind, especially in the mountainous regions of Himalayan, the Karakoram, Hindu Kush and other very remote areas of Asia. Born in 1952 in Athens, Greece and crossed the world’s oceans working on cruise ships and freighters. That was just the beginning for he continued to examine our planet traveling to remote areas on his own, then from the air, when he went on to study aeronautics and became a pilot in the U.S. He leads treks and exploratory tours in Afghanistan, Mongolia, Tibet, Nepal, Pakistan, Iran, Bhutan, Burma, Turkey and India, and he contributes essential research to unusual and remote itineraries for Geographic Expeditions one of the best and most respected expedition companies in the US. Vassi’s photographs have been published in a number of magazines including Geo (European edition), Photografos, USA Today, Asia Week, National Geographic Traveler, and Marin Magazine. He serves as Conde Nast’s Tibet expert and is well known for his compelling images of the Dalai Lama. His photographic and travel expertise has been instrumental in scouting for films including productions by CBS, PDI and Dreamworks and a number of independent filmmakers. Vassi’s work is included in the collections of U.C. Berkeley’s Blum Center, Steve Wynn Casinos, Stanford University’s Center for Buddhist Studies. Vassi has exhibited his work widely in a number of galleries in the United States and Overseas including The Hellenic American Union in Athens, Greece and enjoys giving presentations of his photographs while sharing stories of extensive travels around the world.
 

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Jacob Riis
Denmark/United States
1849 | † 1914
Jacob August Riis was a Danish-American social reformer, "muckraking" journalist, and social documentary photographer. He contributed significantly to the cause of urban reform in America at the turn of the twentieth century. He is known for using his photographic and journalistic talents to help the impoverished in New York City; those impoverished New Yorkers were the subject of most of his prolific writings and photography. He endorsed the implementation of "model tenements" in New York with the help of humanitarian Lawrence Veiller. Additionally, as one of the most famous proponents of the newly practicable casual photography, he is considered one of the fathers of photography due to his very early adoption of flash. While living in New York, Riis experienced poverty and became a police reporter writing about the quality of life in the slums. He attempted to alleviate the bad living conditions of poor people by exposing their living conditions to the middle and upper classes. Riis had for some time been wondering how to show the squalor of which he wrote more vividly than his words could express. He tried sketching but was incompetent at this. Camera lenses of the 1880s were slow as was the emulsion of photographic plates; photography thus did not seem to be of any use for reporting about conditions of life in dark interiors. In early 1887, however, Riis was startled to read that "a way had been discovered to take pictures by flashlight. The darkest corner might be photographed that way." The German innovation, by Adolf Miethe and Johannes Gaedicke, flash powder was a mixture of magnesium with potassium chlorate and some antimony sulfide for added stability; the powder was used in a pistol-like device that fired cartridges. This was the introduction of flash photography. Recognizing the potential of the flash, Riis informed a friend, Dr. John Nagle, chief of the Bureau of Vital Statistics in the City Health Department who was also a keen amateur photographer. Nagle found two more photographer friends, Henry Piffard and Richard Hoe Lawrence, and the four of them began to photograph the slums. Their first report was published in the New York newspaper The Sun on February 12, 1888; it was an unsigned article by Riis which described its author as "an energetic gentleman, who combines in his person, though not in practice, the two dignities of deacon in a Long Island church and a police reporter in New York." The "pictures of Gotham's crime and misery by night and day" are described as "a foundation for a lecture called 'The Other Half: How It Lives and Dies in New York.' to give at church and Sunday school exhibitions, and the like." The article was illustrated by twelve-line drawings based on the photographs. Riis and his photographers were among the first Americans to use flash photography. Pistol lamps were dangerous and looked threatening, and would soon be replaced by another method for which Riis lit magnesium powder on a frying pan. The process involved removing the lens cap, igniting the flash powder, and replacing the lens cap; the time taken to ignite the flash powder sometimes allowed a visible image blurring created by the flash. Riis's first team soon tired of the late hours, and Riis had to find other help. Both his assistants were lazy and one was dishonest, selling plates for which Riis had paid. Riis sued him in court successfully. Nagle suggested that Riis should become self-sufficient, so in January 1888 Riis paid $25 for a 4×5 box camera, plate holders, a tripod and equipment for developing and printing. He took the equipment to the potter's field cemetery on Hart Island to practice, making two exposures. The result was seriously overexposed but successful. For three years, Riis combined his own photographs with others commissioned of professionals, donations by amateurs and purchased lantern slides, all of which formed the basis for his photographic archive. Because of the nighttime work, he was able to photograph the worst elements of the New York slums, the dark streets, tenement apartments, and "stale-beer" dives, and documented the hardships faced by the poor and criminal, especially in the vicinity of notorious Mulberry Street. A particularly important effort by Riis was his exposure of the condition of New York's water supply. His five-column story "Some Things We Drink", in the August 21, 1891, edition of the New York Evening Sun, included six photographs (later lost). Riis wrote: "I took my camera and went up in the watershed photographing my evidence wherever I found it. Populous towns sewered directly into our drinking water. I went to the doctors and asked how many days a vigorous cholera bacillus may live and multiply in running water. About seven, said they. My case was made." The story resulted in the purchase by New York City of areas around the New Croton Reservoir, and may well have saved New Yorkers from an epidemic of cholera. Riis tried hard to have the slums around Five Points demolished and replaced with a park. His writings resulted in the Drexel Committee's investigation of unsafe tenements; this resulted in the Small Park Act of 1887. Riis was not invited to the eventual opening of the park on June 15, 1897, but went all the same, together with Lincoln Steffens. In the last speech, the street cleaning commissioner credited Riis for the park and led the public in giving him three cheers of "Hooray, Jacob Riis!" Other parks also were created, and Riis was popularly credited with them as well.Source: Wikipedia
Peter Bogaczewicz
Poland/Canada
1974
Peter Bogaczewicz is a Canadian photographer and an architect currently developing projects in the Middle East. He divides his time between the two disciplines, often blurring the line between them, and uses his photography as a commentary on the built environment and the human community, how both are changing at a time of rapid progress and growing global interconnectedness, and the impact this has on the natural environment. There is no clearer reflection of a society's aspirations than through its collective "footprint" on nature; it is in the relationship of the constructed world to the natural world that a crucially revealing conversation takes place. Examining this dialogue captures Peter's imagination and appears as a common thread throughout his work, inviting the questions: How do we relate to the places we inhabit? And what does it reveal about us? Peter has recently had his photographs of Saudi Arabia published as a monograph by Daylight books and is regularly receiving recognition for his work. Kingdom of Sand and Cement Looking from the outside, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia appears doubly inaccessible: a seemingly endless inhospitable landscape populated by a traditionalist culture distrustful of outsiders. But looking from the inside reveals a subtler view: the culture, as different as it is, struggles with its identity like other cultures do at a time of growing global interdependencies and pressures to progress. What distinguishes Saudi Arabia in its struggle is that this country has had very little time to adapt. Though its abundance of oil wealth has given it an unprecedented advantage, at the same time, it ironically threatens its way of life. "Kingdom of Sand and Cement" explores the particular challenge Saudi Arabia is faced with as the country transitions from the tribal desert culture to an influential world power. It is a profound change, taking its population from mud buildings to the tallest of skyscrapers in less than a century. And while the whole country rapidly transforms from arid landscapes dotted with settlements, that seem to simply grow out of the ground, to imposing modern interventions, cutting, filling, and monumentalizing dominance over nature and the land, Saudi Arabia finds itself precariously balancing at a crossroads of old and new. The population adjusts, straddling both tradition and modernity, while its changing landscape readies it for more to come. The Series documents this relatively unfamiliar place at a time of its unique turning point. By photographically examining its past and present "markings" on nature—that crucial intersection of the built environment with that of the natural environment—the Series brings to light the country's aspirations tensely juxtaposed with its traditionalist past. The contrasts reveal an image of a place much different from our own, yet a place ultimately not so dissimilar to others in its ambition to progress, and susceptible as any to the risks of rapid and often careless transition. More about the book Kingdom of Sand and Cement
David Octavius Hill
Scotland
1802 | † 1870
David Octavius Hill was a Scottish painter, photographer and arts activist. He formed Hill & Adamson studio with the engineer and photographer Robert Adamson between 1843 and 1847 to pioneer many aspects of photography in Scotland. Hill was born in 1802 in Perth. His father, a bookseller and publisher, helped to re-establish Perth Academy and David was educated there as were his brothers. When his older brother Alexander joined the publishers Blackwood's in Edinburgh, Hill went there to study at the School of Design. He learned lithography and produced Sketches of Scenery in Perthshire which was published as an album of views. His landscape paintings were shown in the Institution for the Promotion of the Fine Arts in Scotland, and he was among the artists dissatisfied with the Institution who established a separate Scottish Academy in 1829 with the assistance of his close friend Henry Cockburn. A year later Hill took on unpaid secretarial duties. He sought commissions in book illustration, with four sketches being used to illustrate The Glasgow and Garnkirk Railway Prospectus in 1832, and went on to provide illustrations for editions of Walter Scott and Robert Burns. In the 1830s he is listed as living at 24 Queen Street, in Edinburgh's New Town. In 1836 the Royal Scottish Academy began to pay him a salary as secretary, and with this security he married his fiancée Ann Macdonald the following year. After the birth of their daughter, Charlotte Hill, Ann was invalided, and died on 5 October 1841, aged 36, and was buried with her family in Greyfriars Churchyard in Perth. Charlotte Hill went on to marry the author Walter Scott Dalgleish LLD and is buried in Grange Cemetery. During this period he lived at 28 Inverleith Row in Edinburgh's northern suburbs and he continued to produce illustrations and to paint landscapes on commission. Hill was present at the Disruption Assembly in 1843 when over 450 ministers walked out of the Church of Scotland assembly and down to another assembly hall to found the Free Church of Scotland. He decided to record the dramatic scene with the encouragement of his friend Lord Cockburn and another spectator, the physicist Sir David Brewster who suggested using the new invention, photography, to get likenesses of all the ministers present. Brewster was himself experimenting with this technology which only dated back to 1839, and he introduced Hill to another enthusiast, Robert Adamson. Hill and Adamson took a series of photographs of those who had been present and of the setting. The 5 feet (1.5 m) x 11.4 feet (3.5 m) painting was eventually completed in 1866. Hill moved to "Calton Hill Stairs" in 1850. Their collaboration, with Hill providing skill in composition and lighting, and Adamson considerable sensitivity and dexterity in handling the camera, proved extremely successful, and they soon broadened their subject matter. Adamson's studio, "Rock House", on Calton Hill in Edinburgh became the centre of their photographic experiments. Using the calotype process, they produced a wide range of portraits depicting well-known Scottish luminaries of the time, including Hugh Miller, both in the studio and outdoors, often amongst the elaborate tombs in Greyfriars Kirkyard. They photographed local and Fife landscapes and urban scenes, including images of the Scott Monument under construction in Edinburgh. As well as the great and the good, they photographed ordinary working folk, particularly the fishermen of Newhaven, and the fishwives who carried the fish in creels the 3 miles (5 km) uphill to the city of Edinburgh to sell them round the doors, with their cry of "Caller herrin" (fresh herring). They produced several groundbreaking "action" photographs of soldiers and - perhaps their most famous photograph - two priests walking side by side. Their partnership produced around 3,000 prints, but was cut short after only four years due to the ill health and death of Adamson in 1848. The calotypes faded under sunlight, so had to be kept in albums, and though Hill continued the studio for some months, he became less active and abandoned the studio, though he continued to sell prints of the photographs and to use them as an aid for composing paintings. In 1862 he remarried, to the sculptor Amelia Robertson Paton, 20 years his junior, and around that time took up photography again, but the results were more static and less successful than his collaboration with Adamson. He was badly affected by the death of his daughter and his work slowed. In 1866 he finished the Disruption picture which received wide acclaim, though many of the participants had died by then. The photographer F.C. Annan produced fine reduced facsimiles of the painting for sale throughout the Free Church, and a group of subscribers raised £1,200 to buy the painting for the church. In 1869 illness forced him to give up his post as secretary to the RSA, and he died in May 1870. Hill is buried in Dean Cemetery, Edinburgh - one of the finest Victorian cemeteries in Scotland. He is portrayed in a bust sculpted by his second wife, Amelia, who is buried alongside him.Source: Wikipedia
Terry O’Neill
United Kingdom
1938 | † 2019
Terence Patrick O'Neill CBE (30 July 1938 – 16 November 2019) was a British photographer, known for documenting the fashions, styles, and celebrities of the 1960s. O'Neill's photographs capture his subjects candidly or in unconventional settings. His work has been featured in numerous exhibitions. O'Neill was awarded an honorary fellowship of the Royal Photographic Society in 2004 and the society's Centenary Medal in 2011. His work is held in the collection of the National Portrait Gallery, London. O'Neill was born to Irish parents in Romford, East London, and began his career working in a photographic unit for an airline at London's Heathrow Airport. During this time, he photographed a sleeping figure in a waiting area who, by happenstance, was revealed to be Home Secretary Rab Butler. O'Neill thereafter found further employment on Fleet Street with The Daily Sketch in 1959. His first professional job was to photograph Laurence Olivier. During the 1960s, in addition to photographing contemporary celebrities such as Judy Garland, the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, he also photographed members of the British royal family and prominent politicians, showing a more human side to these subjects than had usually been portrayed. O'Neill's photographs of Elton John are among his best known. A selection of them appeared in the 2008 book Eltonography. Also considered among his most famous images are a series of American actress Faye Dunaway (his girlfriend at the time) at dawn on 29 March 1977, lounging next to the swimming pool at the Beverly Hills Hotel the morning after winning the Academy Award for Best Actress for Network, with several newspapers scattered around her and her Oscar statuette prominently shown on a table beside her breakfast tray. The series was photographed in both colour and black and white. O'Neill was credited (as Terrence O'Neill) as an executive producer of the film Mommie Dearest (1981). His only other film credit was for still photography for the opera film Aria (1987). O'Neill was married to the actress Vera Day for 13 years; they had two children together, Keegan Alexander and Sarah Jane. He had a long-term relationship with Faye Dunaway; they were married for four years in the 1980s and had a son, Liam. In 2003, he was quoted in the U.S. tabloid magazine Star as saying Liam was adopted and not their biological son, contrary to Dunaway's public assertions. In 2001 O'Neill married Laraine Ashton, a former model agency executive. O'Neill underwent a triple bypass and, in 2006, an operation for bowel cancer. He died on 16 November 2019 at his home in London from prostate cancer, at the age of 81.Source: Wikipedia Terry O’Neill, British Photographer, gained renown documenting the fashions, styles, and celebrities of the 1960s. O’Neill’s photographs display his knack for capturing his subjects candidly or in unconventional settings. His intimate chronicling of the Swinging Sixties, thanks to friendships with the Beatles and Rolling Stones, made him a household name. Terry O’Neill’s career as a photographer began at the age of 22 and he was soon freelancing for some of the most famous magazines. His coveted work hangs in national galleries and private collections worldwide. Terry has produced covers for Time, Newsweek, Stern, Paris Match, The Sunday Times Magazine, Vanity Fair and many others over the course of his six-decade career. Since Terry first picked up a camera in 1958, he has photographed presidents, prime ministers, rock stars, Oscar winners and the British Royal Family. His work has delivered iconic movie posters, album covers and fashion plates for the world’s top designers. Terry O’Neill has chronicled the lives of emerging rock stars and icons of the 60s including David Bowie, Elton John, The Who, Eric Clapton, Chuck Berry and many others. He photographed The Beatles and The Rolling Stones when they were struggling young bands and worked closely with Frank Sinatra for over 30 years, being granted access to the legend back stage and in private. Former husband to legendary actress Faye Dunaway, his photograph of her in Beverley Hills, the morning after she won her Best Actress Oscar for Network, has been nominated as the most iconic Hollywood shot of all time. His photographs of Brigitte Bardot, Jean Shrimpton and Audrey Hepburn capture the charisma of these superstars at the peak of their careers.Source: Mouche Gallery
Anthony Goicolea
United States/Cuba
1971
Anthony Goicolea is a New York-based fine art photographer. Goicolea's photographs frequently deal with issues of androgyny, homosexuality, and child sexuality. Goicolea, Cuban-American and gay, was educated at the University of Georgia and studied painting, photography, and sculpture at that institution. He holds an MFA in fine arts from the Pratt Institute. He made his debut in 1999, and now shows work with Postmasters gallery in New York and Aurel Scheibler in Berlin, Germany. In 2005, he received the BMW-Award for Photography. Some of his work features photographs of "pre- to barely pubescent boys" (Art in America, Dec, 2001) in elaborately staged tableau settings, commonly showing multiple boys wearing traditional private school uniforms either engaged in school-life or recreation after school — but with often transgressive and erotic twists in their activities. Of great interest in these compositions is the fact that Goicolea himself portrays all of the boys in his photographs through the astute use of costumes, wigs, make-up, and post-production editing via the software Adobe Photoshop; "always looking uncannily like a boy on the edge of puberty" (The Advocate, August 14, 2001). Therefore, despite having numerous figures in them, Goicolea's photographs are actually very complex large-scale self-portraits, and are always done in a flawlessly realist manner. The pioneering fine-art photographer Cindy Sherman is an apparent influence on Goicolea's work, given her own extensive use of self-portraits and emphasis on sexually-charged narrative topics. Sherman and Goicolea have also had several joint exhibitions. His work can be strongly compared to similar manipulated and/or staged art photography featuring children and adolescents, such as that of Bernard Faucon, Loretta Lux, and Justine Kurland. Recently, Goicolea has also been producing and exhibiting his drawings, which follow much of the same subject matter as his photographs. He has also published several books. Goicolea is also represented by Gow Langsford Gallery based in Auckland, New Zealand.Source Wikipedia
Svetlin Yosifov
"I was born in Bulgaria, and I had the privilege of living in this beautiful country all my life. My employment is in a private sports club, focused on extreme sports, which involves a lot of travelling and keeps my life dynamic and interesting. Apart from this, I love travelling abroad and do this once a year for a period of two months. I always associate these trips with diving in the unknown, meeting new people and experiencing something new. My adventurous spirit is my main drive, the inner flame, that keeps me going! Not a professional freelance photographer. I define myself as a travel-documentary-art photographer. For almost 20 years now photography has been part of my life. My passion is catching street portraits and trying to figure out my object's character.Portrait photography is the most compelling genre for me. The impact of a single photo, comes from the emotion it reflects.My Point of interest - traditions in primal and natural places like India, Ethiopia, Kenya, Indonesia, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Cuba and more. I consider good photography to be much more than a snapshot or a memory, it is something that tells a story, strong enough to influence the world we live in and raise more awareness. Throughout the years my interviews and photographs have been published in many magazines and websites." About Mursi People Mursi People is a series of photos that were taken during my visits to Ethiopia and are part of the albums "Ethiopian tribes expedition 2018" and the "Second Ethiopian tribes expedition 2019" The African tribe of Mursi people is isolated in Omo valley - South Ethiopia near the border with Sudan. They are one of the most fascinating tribes in Africa with their lives being a combination of brutal reality and amazing beauty. What was really appealing to me, as a photographer, was to capture and recreate the perplexing nature of their culture and way of life. Suffering from extreme drought in the past few years has made their life cruel and sometimes dangerous, but has not left a single mark on their traditions. Living among them gave the sense of extreme authenticity and in the same time felt like an illusion. Their faces filled my insatiable passion for capturing pure, untouched souls of a culture on the brink of extinction." Discover Svetlin Yosifov's Interview
Raghu Rai
India
1942
Raghu Rai (born in December 1942) qualified as a civil engineer, started photography at the age of 23 in 1965. He joined The Statesman newspaper as their chief photographer (1966 to 1976), and was then Picture Editor with Sunday—a weekly news magazine published from Calcutta (1977 to 1980). In 1971, impressed by Rai’s exhibition at Gallery Delpire, Paris, the legendary photographer Henri Cartier Bresson nominated him to Magnum Photos, the world’s most prestigious photographer’s cooperative which Rai could start only in 1977, Rai took over as Picture Editor-Visualiser- Photographer of India Today, India’s leading news magazine in its formative years. He worked on special issues and designs, contributing trailblazing picture essays on social, political and cultural themes of the decade (1982 to 1991). He was awarded the "Padmashree" in 1972 for the body of works he produced on Bangladesh refugees, the war and its surrender. In 1992 he was awarded “Photographer of the Year” in the United States for the story “Human Management of Wildlife in India” published in National Geographic. In 2009 he was conferred Officier des Arts et des Lettres by French Government. His photo essays have appeared in many of the world’s leading magazines and newspapers - including Time, Life, GEO, Le Figaro, Le Monde, Die Welt, The New York Times, Sunday The Times-London, Newsweek, Vogue, GQ, D magazine, Marie Claire, The Independent and The New Yorker. He has been an adjudicator for World Press Photo contest, Amsterdam and UNESCO’s International Photo Contest for many times. Currently, Raghu Rai lives in New Delhi and is working on his 57th book.Source: raghuraifoundation.org Rai has specialized in extensive coverage of India. He has produced a lot of books, including Raghu Rai's Delhi, The Sikhs, Calcutta, Khajuraho, Taj Mahal, Tibet in Exile, India, and Mother Teresa. His photo essays have appeared in many magazines and newspapers. For Greenpeace, he has completed an in-depth documentary project on the chemical disaster at Bhopal in 1984, which he covered as a journalist with India Today, and on its ongoing effects on the lives of gas victims. This work resulted in a book, Exposure: A Corporate Crime and three exhibitions that toured Europe, America, India and southeast Asia after 2004, the 20th anniversary of the disaster. Rai wanted the exhibition to support the many survivors through creating greater awareness, both about the tragedy, and about the victims – many who are still uncompensated – who continue to live in the contaminated environment around Bhopal. In 2003, while on an assignment for Geo Magazine in Bombay City, he switched to using a digital Nikon D100 camera "and from that moment to today, I haven't been able to go back to using film." In 2017, Avani Rai, his daughter followed her father on one of his trips to Kashmir to get an insight into his life and know him better. She documented this journey and released a documentary on it called Raghu Rai: An Unframed Portrait. It depicts a historical narrative through Raghu Rai's photographs through time, as he tells some of his unique experiences that not only affected him deeply but also important landmarks in the young yet crucial history of India. It was executive produced by Anurag Kashyap.Source: Wikipedia Rai was awarded the "Padmashree" in 1971, one of India’s highest civilian awards ever given to a photographer. In 1992, his National Geographic cover story Human Management of Wildlife in India won him widespread critical acclaim for the piece. Besides winning many national and international awards, Rai has exhibited his works in London, Paris, New York, Hamburg, Prague, Tokyo, Zurich and Sydney. His photo essays have appeared in many of the world’s leading magazines and newspapers. He has served three times on the jury of the World Press Photo and twice on the jury of UNESCO’s International Photo Contest. Raghu Rai lives in Delhi with his family and continues to be a correspondent of Magnum Photos.Source: Magnum Photos
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